The cause of dystonia is not fully understood. There appears to be a problem with the region of the brain called the basal ganglia. In most cases where dystonia appears in adults and some case where it appears in children, there is no clear explanation for why this problem arises.
However, in a minority of cases, the dystonia does have a clear cause. These are:
Where dystonias appear in children, in more than 80% of cases the dystonia will be secondary to another condition. In the majority of cases, this will be cerebral palsy.
Some dystonias appearing in adults may caused by stroke or tumour.
Some dystonias, called Tardive, are caused by certain drugs (especially dopamine blocking drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders).
Some cases generalised primary dystonia may be inherited. Click here for more info.
Last reviewed 2011
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