Symptoms of dystonia vary, depending on which type a person has. The symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other conditions, and can also be signs of other conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease. Generalized dystonia, which is more common in children than adults, causes symptoms throughout the entire body; focal dystonia is limited to just a part of the body.
Early symptoms, which start off mildly at first and progress, can include:
Early-onset dystonia usually begins with symptoms occurring in the limbs and progressing on to other areas of the body. Adult-onset dystonia usually occurs in the face or neck, and can progress to other areas of the body.
The location of dystonia within the body is also categorized:
The initial symptoms are often so mild that people dismiss or ignore them. Symptoms can worsen over time, and are often exacerbated by stress or anxiety. Quality of life can be greatly affected, depending on the location of symptoms. It is important to be treated as soon as possible by a trained specialist, to reap the benefits of early intervention.
Reviewed by Michael Kaplitt, M.D., Ph.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: April 2022