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Disorder causing difficulty relaxing contracted voluntary muscles. All or only a few may be affected. Myotonia seems to originate in the muscles (myopathy) rather than the nervous system. Certain toxins can cause it. A hereditary form, myotonia congenita (Thomsen disease), can affect eyelid and eye motion, swallowing, or talking. Quick movements cause muscle stiffening. There is also a myotonic form of muscular dystrophy. Analgesics, anesthetics, and anticonvulsant drugs can alleviate the symptoms.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on myotonia, visit Britannica.com.