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Is There Any Relationship Between Dystonia & Parkinson Disease?

About Dystonia

Dystonia is a pathological condition in which the affected individual experiences severely painful and prolonged muscle contractions, which result in abnormal movements and postures. The symptoms of dystonia usually begin in one part of the body like the neck, face, or the vocal cords that then spread to other parts of the body. The severity of the dystonia symptoms is significantly variable and differs from patient to patient.

In most of the cases, individuals having dystonia can maintain a normal lifestyle without any problems while in some cases the severity of the dystonia may be so severe that the individual may require assistance and is dependent on others for many activities of daily living. Dystonia is the third most common neurological disorder in the United States with an estimated 400,000 children and adult alike suffering from this condition.

About Parkinson Disease

Parkinson Disease is a gradual onset neurodegenerative disorder, which adversely affects the neurons which produce dopamine. The symptoms of Parkinson Disease are gradual and slow in onset and tend to develop over a number of years. The progression of Parkinson Disease symptoms may be a bit fast in some individuals while it may be slow in others. Thus, the progression of symptoms in Parkinson Disease is quite variable.

The classic presenting feature of Parkinson Disease is tremor, which may be present at rest or with activity. There will also be slowness of movements and stiffness of the limbs. The affected individual will also have problems with balance and coordination as the disease condition progresses. The exact cause behind development of Parkinson Disease is unknown. As of now, there is no cure for Parkinson Disease, although the symptoms can be significantly controlled with medications like dopamine and at times surgery. While Parkinson Disease poses no threat to the life of the affected individual, the complications that arise from it tend to be potentially serious.

Is There Any Relationship Between Dystonia And Parkinson Disease?

Coming to the question as to whether there is any relationship between Parkinson and Dystonia, then the answer is yes, there is a close relationship between dystonia and Parkinson Disease.

Movement Disorders: The first and foremost similarity between these two conditions is that they both come under the category of movement disorders. Dystonia is the early sign of Parkinson Disease and it is estimated that about 40% of individuals with dystonia go on to develop Parkinson Disease.

Related by Medications & Other Diseases: Another significant relationship between Dystonia and Parkinson’s disease is that both these conditions can develop together in certain diseases. Dystonia may also occur as a side effect of the medications used for treating Parkinson Disease. Other than this, certain medical conditions like Wilson Disease have symptoms, which can be present in both dystonia as well as Parkinson Disease.

Related by way of Treatment: Treatment wise also both Dystonia and Parkinson Disease are similar with common treatments. Levodopa and anti-cholinergic medications help in alleviating the symptoms of both Dystonia and Parkinson Disease. Surgically speaking, DBS or deep brain stimulation can also be opted for in both Dystonia and Parkinson Disease.

Developing From The Same Source: Last but not the least, Dystonia and Parkinson Disease are thought to develop from dysfunction of the basal ganglia and its function. However, the exact cause of both Dystonia and Parkinson Disease is not clear.


In conclusion, based on the above it can be said that there is a close relationship between dystonia and Parkinson Disease as most of the symptoms of dystonia are a part of Parkinson Disease and in most of the cases individuals with dystonia gradually progress to have Parkinson Disease after a significant period of time. The treatment as well for both Dystonia and Parkinson Disease is similar.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 28, 2023

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