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Diagnosing dystonia isn't straightforward. It involves using a stepwise approach that starts by identifying the precise nature and specific features of your movement disorders.
The specialist will try to identify which type of dystonia classification your movement disorders fall into, taking into consideration a number of factors, including:
It's important to confirm whether you have primary or secondary dystonia to help determine the type of treatment you need.
In primary dystonia, muscle spasms are the only symptom and there's no other associated condition. Secondary dystonia is caused by an underlying health condition, injury or some other type of damage.
If you have the typical signs of late-onset focal dystonia, you may not need to have specific investigations. However, you may need to have a series of tests and examinations to confirm whether you have primary or secondary dystonia. These tests are described below:
If you have early-onset dystonia, you may also be given a course of medication called levodopa. If your symptoms improve significantly after taking levodopa, a diagnosis of dopa-responsive dystonia can be made.