Forms of Dystonia

There are several forms of dystonia, and dystonia may be a symptom of many diseases and conditions. If you want to investigate a specific form or sub-form of dystonia, just click any one of the links below. 


Blepharospasm: dystonia that affects the muscles of the eyelids and brow

Cervical Dystonia

Cervical Dystonia: dystonia that affects the neck and sometimes the shoulders

Laryngeal Dystonia (Spasmodic Dysphonia)

Laryngeal Dystonia(Spasmodic Dysphonia): dystonia that affects the vocal cords

Oromandibular Dystonia

Oromandibular Dystonia: symptoms include forceful contractions of the face, jaw, and/or tongue

Writer's Cramp (Hand Dystonia)

Writer's Cramp (Hand Dystonia): dystonia of the fingers, hand, and/or forearm


Drug-Induced: specific drugs are capable of causing dystonia

Neurological and Metabolic Diseases

Neurological and Metabolic Diseases: dystonia can occur as a symptom of multiple disorders


Toxins: several rare toxins are known to cause movement disorders


Trauma: dystonia may follow trauma to the head and/or to a specific body area

Embouchure Dystonia

Embouchure Dystonia: dystonia that affects brass and woodwind players and adjustment of the mouth to fit the mouthpiece of a wind instrument

Focal Hand in Musicians

Focal Hand in Musicians: usually manifests as a painless loss of muscular control in highly practiced movements

Dopa-responsive Dystonia

A group of movement disorders that respond to a medication called levodopa. You can read more about Dopa-responsive dystonia here

Functional Dystonia

Dystonia that is secondary to a combination of neurological and psychiatric/psychological causes. You can learn more about functional dystonia here.

Generalized Dystonia

Characterized by twisting of the limbs and torso. You can read more about early-onset generalized dystonia here

Lower Limb Dystonia

Dystonia of the leg, foot, and/or toes. You can learn more about lower limb dystonia here

Myoclonus Dystonia

An inherited dystonia disorder that includes prominent myoclonus symptoms. You can read more about myoclonus dystonia here

Paroxysmal Dystonia and Dyskinesias

Episodic movement disorders in which abnormal movements occur only during attacks. You can read more about paroxysmal dystonia and dyskinesia here

Pediatric Dystonia

Dystonia can occur in children of all ages. You can learn more about pediatric dystonia here

Rapid-onset Dystonia-parkinsonism

An inherited  dystonia that includes symptoms of parkinsonism. Yo can learn more about rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism here

X-linked Dystonia-parkinsonism

An inherited dystonia disorder that includes symptoms of parkinsonism. You can learn more about x-linked dystonia-parkinsonism here


You may come across classifications such as focal, secondary, and musician's dystonia. 

Focal dystonias are adult-onset forms that affects a specific area of the body. Most focal dystonias are primary (meaning that it is the only neurological symptom and presumed to have a genetic component), though secondary cases are documented. Focal dystonia may affect muscles of the eyes, mouth, vocal cords, neck, hands, and feet. Types of Focal Dystonia - Blepharospasm, Cervical Dystonia, Laryngeal Dystonia(Spasmodic Dysphonia), Oromandibular Dystonia, and Writer's Cramp (Hand Dystonia). 

Primary dystonias are genetic (or believed to be genetic) in origin, whereas secondary dystonias result from apparent outside factors and can be attributed to a specific cause such as exposure to certain medications, trauma, toxins, infections, or stroke. You can learn more about secondary dystonia here. Causes of Secondary Dystonia: Drug-Induced, Neurological and Metabolic Diseases, Toxins, Trauma.

In Musician's dystonia, professional musicians are susceptible to a variety of specific occupational injuries, including task-specific focal dystonia. If you are an afflicted musician and would like support and more information for your specific issues, you can access the Musicians With Dystonia Bulletin Board to find material related to your specific needs. You can read more about musician's dystonia here. Types of Musician's Dystonia: Embouchure Dystonia, Focal Hand in Musicians. Click here for more information about Musician’s Dystonia.


Last update: Oct 2023