The Major Causes of Dystonic Cerebral Palsy

Dystonic or dyskinetic cerebral palsy refers to a group of movement disorders in which the muscles involuntarily contract or relax resulting in repetitive movements or abnormal postures. These uncontrollable movements can be painful for the sufferer and can affect many muscle groups or just one muscle.
Research shows that dystonias are a result of an abnormality of the brain, specifically the basal ganglia. This region of the brain is one of the centers where muscle contractions are processed. When there is a problem in this area the body’s ability to process certain neurotransmitters is compromised, resulting in involuntary muscle actions.
Those that have dystonic cerebral palsy have numerous difficulties including
• subluxation or dislocation of joints
• involuntary movements
• joint instability
• inability to perform fine motor skills
• unable to perform gross motor skills
• uncontrollable muscle spasms
• incomplete self righting reflexes
• abnormal equilibrium responses
• hearing loss
• visual impairment
• perception disorders
• mental retardation
• intrapersonal challenges
• interpersonal problems
There are many causes of dystonia and these catagories are separated into two smaller groups, primary and secondary dystonia.
Primary dystonia is genetically related. It is a hereditary gene that has prompted the condition.
Secondary, or acquired dystonia, are a result of disease related damage or as a direct consequence of environmental factors. In this type of dystonia, typically an injury or infection causes damage to the basal ganglia resulting in the muscle disorder.
It is a commonly held belief that a lack of oxygen is the primary cause of cerebral palsy. This can occur as a result of premature birth or a birth injury such as the umbilical cord, a long labor, a trauma during pregnancy, physician error, and many others.
Acquired dystonia can also be caused by certain infections while still in the mother’s womb or within the first few days of life, medications, heavy metal poisoning, carbon monoxide poisonoing, or stroke. Trauma is also another possibility for asphyxia, usually done without any intention by new parents. Secondary dystonias can also develop as a symptom of some diseases as well. There are still many cases of dystonic cerebral palsy with no known cause.
Most dystonic cerebral palsy diagnosed in infants is a result of complications while in the womb.
The symptoms of secondary dystonia as a result of an injury or a stroke can begin at the time of the event. The symptoms usually reach a peak and progress no further. This aids in the ability to pin point the causative event.