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Difference Between Dyskinesia and Dystonia

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Dyskinesia and dystonia are two completely different diseases that people often confuse and consider as the same phenomenon.

  • Dyskinesia is a condition in which the patient has trouble moving due to impaired brain control when it is responsible for moving muscles.
  • Dystonia is a disease that manifests itself in involuntary muscle contractions that lead to strange postures or unnatural movements of a person.

Understanding the difference between dyskinesia and dystonia is critical if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with one of these conditions.

It is also essential to distinguish between these two diseases since the course of your treatment directly depends on this. It is vital to monitor your symptoms while you are sick. And not to forget all the small details, it is better to write them down in a notebook and provide it to your doctor. Thus, you will eliminate confusion about other diseases and select the only correct recovery solution.

What Is Dyskinesia?

Dyskinesia is a condition that results in involuntary, often repetitive, movements. It can affect any part of your body but it most commonly occurs in: 

  • The face.
  • Tongue.
  • Arms and Legs.

Dyskinesia can be caused by many things, including certain medical conditions, medications, and alcohol abuse. 

Tardive dyskinesia is thought to impact 500,000 people in the United States. Approximately 60% to 70% of instances are moderate, with only 3% being highly severe. Patients treated for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar illness are more vulnerable.

Symptoms Of Dyskinesia

Symptoms of dyskinesia

Among the standard and widely found symptoms there are:

  • Involuntary muscle movements.
  • Swaying of the body.
  • Twitching.
  • Anxiety.
  • Fidgeting.
  • Wriggling.
  • Bobbing of the head.
  • Restlessness.

Causes Of Dyskinesia

The exact cause of dyskinesia is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by problems with how messages are sent from the brain to the muscles. 

Because its causes are unknown, treatments can be problematic, which is why it’s essential to be able to distinguish between two similar diseases and find the key differences.

Treatment Of Dyskinesia

Although there is no cure for dyskinesia, there are therapies that can help alleviate symptoms. Among the treatment possibilities are:

  • Medication.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Surgery.

What Is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a neurological disorder that causes muscle contractions and spasms. It can cause your muscles to twist involuntarily into awkward positions. Dystonia can be very painful and can make it difficult to perform everyday activities such as:

  • Talking.
  • Walking.
  • Eating. 

It can be caused by many different things, including certain medical conditions, medications, and genetic factors. Dystonia affects up to 250,000 persons in the United States, making it the third most frequent movement condition after essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. 

Symptoms Of Dystonia

Symptoms of dystonia

Among the most famous symptoms of this disease are:

  • A “dragging leg.”
  • Uncontrollable blinking.
  • Speech difficulties.
  • Uncontrolled muscle cramps and spasms.
  • Parts of your body twist into unusual positions – such as your neck being bent to the side of your feet turning inwards.
  • Shaking (tremors).

If you find similar symptoms in your body, you should contact your doctor immediately to start treatment as soon as possible and not delay it.

Causes Of Dystonia

Dystonia is a neurological disorder caused by problems with how messages are sent from the brain to the muscles. Dystonia can be caused by many things, including certain medical conditions, medications, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse.

The following conditions can also cause dystonia:

  • Stroke.
  • Brain tumor.
  • Oxygen deprivation.
  • Infection.

Treatment Of Dystonia

There is no cure for dystonia, but there are treatments that can help reduce the symptoms. Treatment options include medication, physical therapy, botulinum toxin injections, and deep brain stimulation.

You can read more about diagnosis, complications and treatment of dystonia in our Lone Star blog.

Dyskinesia vs. Dystonia: Comparison Table 

We have made a unique table to distinguish between these two diseases.




  • Face.
  • Neck.
  • Eyes.
  • Vocal chords.
  • Torso.
  • Limbs.
  • Foot.

  • Head.
  • Arms.
  • Trunk.
  • Legs.
Treated with: Treated with:
Medication, physical therapy, botulinum toxin injections, and deep brain stimulation. Medication, physical therapy, and surgery.

How to Prevent Those Diseases?

Because the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia and dystonia can be severe and even permanent, correct drug prescription and administration are critical to preventing these illnesses.

Antipsychotic drugs should be administered only when warranted and beneficial to the patient. Antipsychotic drugs should always be provided at the lowest effective dose, and the dose should be reduced as soon as signs of tardive dyskinesia or dystonia develop, if feasible.

If a patient is currently on the lowest effective dose and still has symptoms, the kind of antipsychotic drug may be changed. It will be stopped if there is no benefit to taking antipsychotic medication.

For the prevention of dystonia, an anticholinergic medication is most often prescribed along with antipsychotic medication to help prevent harmful side effects.

Bottom Line

You must correctly distinguish between very similar diseases to receive the necessary and correct treatment. To do this, it is not enough just to read an articles on the Internet. You need to be examined and conduct many tests that will show external signs and what is happening inside you.

This is only possible for specialists in the field of neurology. To make an appointment, click here and wait for a response or call 214-619-1910. 

Remember, self-care can be dangerous to your health. It would be better to consult the professionals and start the appropriate treatment. This approach will help you recover faster, avoid unwanted mistakes during self-diagnosis, and prevent harm to other systems of your body due to self-treatment. Your health should be approached with proper care.


  • What is an example of dystonia?

Examples include writer’s cramps that affect the muscles of the hand and sometimes the forearm and only occur during handwriting. Similar focal dystonias have also been called typist’s cramp, pianist’s cramp, and musician’s cramp.

  • What is dystonia life expectancy?

For most people with this disease, dystonia is not a death sentence and it does not shorten life. However, in more severe forms, additional complications may occur that require medical attention.

  • Does dyskinesia go away?

Dyskinesia goes away when you lower the dosage of the medication or stop taking it. However, there are cases when the patients’ condition did not change and the disease did not stop after the completion of the treatment course.

  • Can you have dyskinesia without Parkinson’s?

Dyskinesias are involuntary, erratic, twisting movements of the face, arms, legs, or trunk. They are often fluid and dance-like but may also cause rapid jerking or slow and extended muscle spasms. They are not a symptom of Parkinson’s itself.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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