Dystonia – What is it and how is it treated?

person holding back in pain

Dystonia – What is it and how is it treated?

Learn more about a little-known disease that is often linked to TMJ issues.

What is Dystonia?

According to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, “Dystonia is a neurological disorder that causes excessive, involuntary muscle contractions. These muscle contractions result in abnormal muscle movements and body postures, making it difficult for individuals to control their movements. The movements and postures may be painful. Dystonic movements are typically patterned and repetitive.”


Dystonia can cause pain and muscle contractions in any area of the body, so every case is unique.

Dystonia and TMJ

In many Dystonia cases, underlying TMJ problems could be related to the patient’s symptoms. Often, this is caused by disc displacement between the skull and lower jaw. This can cause nerve or tissue damage to the surrounding area of the jaw. The pressure and pain caused by disc displacement can prove to be debilitating if not properly diagnosed.


Thankfully, Dystonia and TMJ disc displacement can be diagnosed and effectively treated. This may take time, depending on how long symptoms have been present and what kind of damage has been done.

Generally, treatment will consist of a series of appliances, gradually encouraging the discs in your jaw to come back into alignment. If this is done too quickly, the appliance may cause further spine issues.

Treating Dystonia and TMJ is a process, not an immediate solution. These dysfunctions within the body are multifaceted and must be addressed gradually to ensure long-lasting relief.


A message from Dr. Amy Hartsfield:

At TMJ & Sleep Solutions of Alabama, our mission is to provide personalized care to restore quality of life, one patient at a time. If you are experiencing issues with sleep, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment!