What is Oromandibular Dystonia?

Q:
What is oromandibular dystonia?

A:
Dystonia is a movement disorder in which your muscles contract involuntarily, causing repetitive or twisting movements. This dystonia can affect one muscle, a muscle group or even your entire body. When your masticatory, lower facial and the tongue muscles are affected, it is oromandibular dystonia.

Symptoms:

Dystonia of the neck muscles, larynx, and eyelids are often related to oromandibular dystonia. Symptoms sometimes only occur when you perform specific actions, such as chewing or speaking. In addition, some people may have difficulty in swallowing and chewing.

Causes:

Oromandibular dystonia can be divided into primary one and secondary one. Primary oromandibular dystonia occurs with or without a family history of the disorder, while the secondary one occurs because of secondary causes, such as certain disorders or exposure to drugs.

Diagnosis:

After asking patients about his or her medical information, doctors may perform the following tests to help diagnose this condition:

  • Blood and Urine Tests – to check the function of the organs
  • Genetic Testing – to check DNA for any abnormal genes that may be associated with the condition and to confirm if dystonia is genetically caused
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) – to check brain damage or any other conditions such a tumor in the brain.

Treatment:

The following medications are found out to benefit people with the condition:

  • Baclofen (Lioresal)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Trihexyphenidyl (Artane)
  • Tetrabenazine

Besides medications, some simple sensory tricks can make you feel better, such as:

  • Chewing gum
  • Talking
  • Gently touching the chin or lips
  • Biting on toothpicks
  • Placing a finger near the eye or below the chin

These tricks are not effective for all people. If you find that one trick does work, it often keeps working.

If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.

Keywords: oromandibular dystonia; symptoms; causes; diagnosis; treatment

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