About Musician’s Dystonia
- Musician’s dystonia is a task-specific, focal dystonia.
- Musician’s dystonia is characterized by excessive, involuntary muscle movements and postures triggered by playing an instrument.
- Symptoms begin as a gradual, painless loss of dexterity and muscle control, often mistaken for faulty technique or lack of preparation.
- String and piano players develop involuntary movements in the fingers and hands; brass and woodwind musicians develop symptoms in the hands or embouchure.
- Overtime, symptoms may spread to involve other movement tasks or previously unaffected parts of the body.
- Estimates suggest 1% of professional musicians are affected by dystonia, but rates vary by instrument.
- 20% of musicians with dystonia have a family member who is affected.
- Treatment may include oral medications, botulinum neurotoxin injections, and/or physical therapy.
- Sensorimotor re-training and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques are being explored as novel treatment options.
For more information, visit dystonia-foundation.org/musicians
Republished with permission from DMRF Dystonia Dialogue Spring 2018 Vol 41. No 1.
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