The dystonia of the child, what is it?

Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions. These contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements. It may be due to a genetic mutation, a disorder or a drug. Therefore, some people inherit this condition. However, others develop it as a consequence of another disease.

It is relatively frequent in the child. According to the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), dystonia is the third type of movement disorder most common in childhood. In this article we explain what it is and how to diagnose it.

Types of dystonia in childhood

According to how many parts of the body they affect, they can be: focal, segmental, multifocal or generalized. Further, They are classified according to their cause:

Hereditary dystonias (primary)

They are the most important group in childhood. They are diagnosed by their specific genetic defect. Among these we highlight:

  • Isolated generalized dystonia: It is characterized by not being associated with another neurological symptomatology. The gene that is most frequently altered is the DYT1 gene. The average age of onset is at 12 years. It is important to know that most symptoms occur in the legs.
  • Dopa sensitive dystonia: also called Segawa's disease. It is one of the few that can be treated. It starts around age 6, with gait disorder. It is more frequent in girls. In addition, the symptoms fluctuate during the day.

It is important consult the pediatrician if you notice involuntary muscle movements in your child. You may have a movement disorder such as dystonia. Usually, it disappears after a few months without sequelae. However, we should not underestimate it. Dystonia that lasts into adulthood can lead to disability.