Dystonia and parkinsonism are movement disorders that are closely related. First, both conditions can occur together in certain diseases. People living with PD may experience dystonia as an early symptom or as a motor complication of treatment. Dopa-Responsive Dystonia and Rapid-Onset-Dystonia-Parkinsonism are hereditary forms of dystonia in which parkinsonism is often also present. Other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Wilson’s disease, may have both dystonia and parkinsonism, in conjunction to other clinical features.
Second, dystonia and parkinsonism share common treatments. Anticholinergic medications and levodopa may ameliorate both conditions, and DBS is a surgical alternative for both, although the final brain target may vary. Lastly, parkinsonism and dystonia are thought to result from dysfunction of the basal ganglia and their output, although the ultimate cause of the disorders is not known. Further research is necessary to determine the various underlying genetic, environmental, or other underlying mechanisms that may play a role in causing these two related disorders.