Skip to content

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Font Size


It is possible that the main title of the report Dystonia is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Torsion Dystonia

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Generalized Dystonia
  • Primary Dystonia
  • Early-onset Dystonia
  • Childhood-onset Dystonia
  • Dopa-responsive Dystonia (DRD)
  • Focal Dystonia
  • Blepharospasm (Benign Essential Blepharospasm[BEB])
  • Cervical Dystonia (Spasmodic Torticollis[ST])
  • Oromandibular Dystonia
  • Writer's Cramp
  • Paroxysmal Dystonia
  • Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dystonia (PKD)
  • Paroxysmal Dystonia Choreathetosis
  • Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia)
  • Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD)
  • X-Linked Dystonia-parkinsonism
  • Late-onset Dystonia
  • Secondary Dystonia
  • Tardive Dyskinesia
  • Tardive Dystonia
  • Myoclonic Dystonia
  • Rapid-onset Dystonia-parkinsonism (RDP)
  • Segmental Dystonia

General Discussion

Dystonia is a group of movement disorders that vary in their symptoms, causes, progression, and treatments. This group of neurological conditions is generally characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that force the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements and positions (postures).

Dystonia may be focal (affecting an isolated body part), segmental (affecting adjacent body areas, or generalized (affecting many major muscle groups simultaneously). There are many different causes for dystonia. Genetic as well as non-genetic factors contribute to all forms of dystonia. The most characteristic finding associated with dystonia is twisting, repetitive movements that affect the neck, torso, limbs, eyes, face, vocal chords, and/or a combination of these muscle groups.


WE MOVE (Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders)
5731 Mosholu Avenue
Bronx, NY 10471
Tel: (347)843-6132
Fax: (718)601-5112

National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association
300 Park Boulevard
Suite 415
Itasca, IL 60143
Fax: (630)250-4505
Tel: (800)795-6732

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
1 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2810 East Wacker Drive
Suite 2810
Chicago, IL 60601-1905
United States
Tel: (312)755-0198
Fax: (312)803-0138
Tel: (800)377-3978

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981

Dystonia Society
89 Albert Embankment, 2nd Floor
London, SE1 7TP
United Kingdom
Tel: 08454586211
Fax: 08454586311
Tel: 08454586322

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Spasmodic Torticollis ST/Dystonia, Inc.
PO Box 28
Mukwonago, WI 53149
Tel: (262)560-9534
Fax: (262)560-9535
Tel: (888)445-4588

Child Neurology Foundation
201 Chicago Ave, #200
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Tel: (952)641-6100
Fax: (952)881-6276
Tel: (877)263-5430

Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation
551 Fifth Avenue
Suite 520
New York, NY 10176
Tel: (212)682-9900
Fax: (212)682-6156

Movement Disorder Society
555 E. Wells Street
Suite 1100
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
Tel: (414)276-2145
Fax: (414)276-3349

American Dystonia Society
17 Suffolk Lane
Suite 1
Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
Tel: (310)237-5478
Fax: (609)275-5663

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 2/4/2008
Copyright 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Parkinsons disease illustration
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
hands on walker
How does the disease progress?
man with serious expression
8 common questions and answers.
intelligence quotient illustration
What are the advantages of DBS?
Parkinsons Disease Medications
Questions Doctor Parkinsons
Eating Right
Parkinsons Exercise
daughter consoling depressed mother
senior man's hands
Parkinsons Daily