Treatment Options for Dystonia

Although dystonia has no cure, there are a number of treatments available for finding relief. One option is Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy. It may be right for you if you have chronic, primary dystonia,* have not had success managing your symptoms with medication, and are 7 years of age or older.

Medication Injections

This treatment involves the injection of medications directly into the affected muscles.

Drug Therapies

There are many medications that are commonly used to treat dystonia. No single drug works for every individual, and several trials of medications may be necessary to determine which is most appropriate for you. Most of the medications used to treat dystonia work by affecting the neurotransmitter chemicals in the nervous system that execute the brain’s instructions for muscle movement and the control of movement.1

Rhizotomy and Pallidotomy

Surgeries such as rhizotomy and pallidotomy involve the destruction or removal of certain parts of the brain (pallidotomy) or the cutting of nerves in the spinal cord (rhizotomy).

Medtronic DBS Therapy for Dystonia

DBS is a brain stimulation therapy that offers an adjustable, reversible method of treatment for dystonia. The treatment uses an implanted medical device, similar to a pacemaker, to deliver electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas of the brain. Stimulation of these areas enables the brain circuits that control movement to function better.

DBS Therapy is designed to control some of the primary symptoms of dystonia, such as muscle spasms, twisting, involuntary contractions, posturing, and uncontrolled movements. The treatment of dystonia is approved under a Humanitarian Device Exemption. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.

*Including generalized and segmental dystonia, hemidystonia, and cervical dystonia.


  1. Oral Medications. Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.
    http://www.dystonia-foundation.org/pages/oral_medications/121.php. 2010. Accessed September 26, 2011.

Humanitarian Device: Medtronic DBS Therapy has been authorized by Federal Law for the use as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable (drug refractory) primary dystonia. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated. What does this mean?

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 9 Jan 2012

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