Common Misunderstandings

Dystonia is a neurological disorder that occurs with a variety of symptoms, characteristics, and causes. Incorrect information about dystonia is easy to find, not just on the internet but in media stories and even from sources that claim to be authorities on dystonia. It can be challenging to identify credible sources for information.

Here we clarify several common misunderstandings about dystonia.

Cervical Dystonia

Cervical dystonia is a specific form that affects the head and neck. Cervical dystonia produces excessive muscle contractions in the neck. These muscle contractions cause involuntary movements and awkward positions of the head, neck, and sometimes shoulders.


Being informed about the genetics of dystonia can be important in the diagnosis and treatment process. Individuals with dystonia may be concerned that their children are at risk of inheriting the disorder. There are forms of dystonia that are known to be genetic and forms that may or may not have a genetic component—researchers cannot confirm or rule it out at this time. More than 200 genes have been linked to dystonia.

Colorful line diagram of brain networks

Cross-Disciplinary Projects Explore Dystonia Brain Networks to Improve Diagnosis & Treatment

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) and Cure Dystonia Now (CDN) announced the latest grant awards to advance research toward improved dystonia treatment options and ultimately a cure. Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder, affecting no fewer than 250,000 Americans and potentially millions worldwide. This marks the latest in an ongoing collaboration between […]

Dopa-Responsive Dystonia

Dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) is an umbrella term used to describe specific dystonia disorders that respond to a medication called levodopa, which is a synthetic form of a brain chemical called dopamine. This group includes inherited forms that are characterized by progressive difficulty walking. Its symptoms may be similar to those of early onset generalized dystonia.

Research Overview 101

The DMRF believes the best service it can provide the dystonia community is to work every day toward improved therapies and a cure. The DMRF aspires to serve as a leader in dystonia research, putting in as much time, effort, and resources as needed to get the results that make a difference in people’s lives.