themighty logo

How One Song Unlocked the Secret to Treating This Man’s Untreatable Disorder


In 2007, Frederico Bitti, an Italian journalist, was conducting an interview when he was suddenly unable to look at his colleague. Each time he tried to look to his left, an unknown force pushed his head in the opposite direction.

At first, doctors couldn’t diagnose his condition, so his symptoms worsened, according to The Globe and Mail. Bitti began experiencing painful muscle contractions and involuntary tremors in his neck muscles that made everyday actions, such as shaving and drinking from a glass, incredibly difficult.

Bitti was eventually diagnosed with focal dystonia, a disorder characterized by involuntary muscle movement and stiffness. Its causes are mostly unknown, so doctors weren’t sure how to treat him. He tried Botox injections and a variety of medication, which did little to relieve the symptoms. Doctors even recommended brain surgery. Nothing seemed to work.

Desperate, Bitti flew to Toronto to meet with Dr. Joaquin Farias, a dystonia therapist known for treating patients by reteaching them to use affected muscles rather than by prescribing medication. Bitti had been working with Dr. Farias for a few weeks when he reached a turning point in his recovery. One day while he was walking back to his hotel room, “Vogue” by Madonna came on his iPod.

“As I followed the music, I noticed my walking was better,” Bitti says in the video below. “I got home, I filmed myself dancing, and I showed it to him [Farias]. He was like, ‘Oh my god. This is your treatment!’”

Hear Bitti’s story in the video below — and check out his awesome dance moves at 2:50.

Want to celebrate the human spirit? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.