How is Dystonia diagnosed?

How is Dystonia Diagnosed

Usually a GP will refer you to be assessed by a Neurologist who specialises in the nervous system and the brain. If the GP suspects you have Dystonia they may even refer you to a Movement Disorder Specialistwho have knowledge of the condition and recognise the physical signs or symptoms.

There isn’t a specific medical test to diagnose Dystonia however it is necessary for the doctor or Neurologist to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms. A physical and neurological examination may be done, as well as a variety of tests. Here are some of the tests that might be ordered or performed. Some links provided to further information. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) a scan of the brain rule out other conditions. For GP MRI referrals click on link for more info: Medicare GP MRI Referral Eligibility.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Electromyography (EMG) to check the electrical activity of muscles

Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) – measuring the response or signal from the nerve itself or from a muscle supplied by the nerve being activated. More info: EMG and NCS.

Specific Blood and Urine testsrule out other conditions or to confirm secondary Dystonia. 

Genetic testing to test for a Genetic form of Dystonia such as DYT1 and DYT6. Links to Genetic Services.

When the Specialist has confirmed you have Dystonia and what type, then a treatment plan is discussed. It is very important that you understand what the treatment involves and asking any questions that you have will make it easier to make a decision.

Ask Doctor questions on Dystonia

Ask Doctor questions on Dystonia

Please click on links provided to take you to a list of questions that you may ask the doctor.

Healthdirect Australia – Questions to ask your doctor

The Neurological Council of WA (NCWA)  – Questions to ask specialist

Try the question builder! Create a list of questions to ask your doctor using the question builder. Print the list to take to your appointment.

Questions to ask your doctor and health care team – St Vincent’s Health Australia

Top tips for safe health care – booklet to help consumers, their families, carers and other support people get the most out of their health care. You can use the information in the booklet when you talk to your doctor or other health professionals.

Getting second opinions

You have the right to ask a doctor for a second opinion if you are unsure about your diagnosis or medical treatment. More info → Second opinions

For more info on types of Dystonia and treatments refer to links provided.

Types of Dystonia

Link: Overview of types of dystonia and causes 


Link: Overview of treatment options 

Need help finding a specialist? Movement Disorder Specialist or Neurologist Directory 

Back to homepageDystonia Treatments

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