Cervical Dystonia – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments

Cervical Dystonia – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments with medication and therapy. Furthermore, Cervical Dystonia , also called spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition where your neck muscles involuntarily contract, causing your head to twist or turn to one side. Cervical Dystonia can also cause your head to lean uncontrollably forward or backward. A rare disorder that can occur at any age, Cervical Dystonia occurs more often in middle-aged people, women more than men. Symptoms usually start gradually and then reach a point where they don’t get substantially worse.

There is no cure for Cervical Dystonia . The disorder sometimes resolves without treatment, but sustained remissions are uncommon. Injecting botulinum toxin into the affected muscles often reduces the signs and symptoms of Cervical Dystonia. Surgery may be appropriate in some cases.

Causes of  Cervical Dystonia:  In most cases of Cervical Dystonia, the cause is unknown. Some people who have Cervical Dystonia have a family history of the disorder, so a genetic component may be a factor. Cervical Dystonia is sometimes linked to head, neck, or shoulder injuries .

Symptoms of  Cervical Dystonia:  The muscle contractions involved in Cervical Dystonia can cause your head to twist in a variety of directions, including:

The most common type of sprain associated with Cervical Dystonia is when your chin is pulled towards your shoulder . Some people experience a combination of abnormal head postures. A sudden movement of the head may also occur. Many people who have Cervical Dystonia also experience a sore throat that can radiate to the shoulders . The clutter can also cause headaches. In some people, the pain of Cervical Dystonia  can be exhausting and disabling.

Cervical Dystonia  Risk Factors: Risk  factors for Cervical Dystonia include:

  • It was. Although the disorder can occur in people of any age, it usually starts after age 30.
  • Your sex. Women are more likely to develop Cervical Dystonia than men.
  • Family history. If a close family member has Cervical Dystonia or some other type of dystonia, you are at a higher risk of developing the disorder.

Cervical Dystonia  Complications : In some cases, the involuntary muscle contractions associated with Cervical Dystonia can spread to nearby areas of your body. The most common locations include the face, jaw, arms and trunk. People who have Cervical Dystonia can also develop bone spurs that can reduce the amount of space in the spinal canal. This can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet.

Diagnosis of  Cervical Dystonia:  While physical examination alone can confirm a diagnosis of Cervical Dystonia , your doctor may suggest blood tests or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rule out any underlying conditions causing your signs and symptoms.

Cervical Dystonia  Treatments : There is no cure for Cervical Dystonia . In some people, signs and symptoms may go away without treatment, but recurrence is common. Treatment focuses on relieving signs and symptoms.

Medications:  Botulinum toxin, a paralyzing agent often used to smooth facial wrinkles, can be injected directly into the neck muscles affected by Cervical Dystonia . Examples of botulinum toxins include Botox, Dysport, Xeomin and Myobloc.

Most people with Cervical Dystonia see improvement with these injections, which usually must be repeated every three to four months. To improve results or to help reduce the dosage and frequency of botulinum toxin injections, your doctor may also suggest oral medications that have a muscle-relaxing effect.

Therapy:  Sensory tricks, such as touching the opposite side of the face or the back of the head, can cause spasms to temporarily stop. Different sensory tricks work for different people, but they often lose effectiveness as the disease progresses.

Heat packs and massages can help relax your neck and shoulder muscles . Exercises that improve neck strength and flexibility can also be helpful. Cervical Dystonia signs and symptoms tend to get worse when you are stressed, so learning stress management techniques is also important.

Surgical and Other Procedures:  If less invasive treatments don’t help, your doctor may suggest surgery. Procedures may include:

  • Deep brain stimulation. In this procedure, a thin wire is guided into the brain through a small hole cut in the skull. The end of the wire is placed in the part of the brain that controls movement. Electrical pulses are sent through the wire to interrupt the nerve signals that make your head twist.
  • Cutting the nerves. Another option is to surgically cut the nerves that carry the contraction signals to the affected muscles.

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