Cervical dystonia

Cervical dystonia is a movement disorder that can cause abnormal postures and involuntary twisting as well as repetitive movements in the head and neck area. It is also known as spasmodic torticollis. This is a very painful condition that causes a lot of discomfort to the person who is inflicted with this disorder. Individuals who have this condition complain of pain that radiates down the neck into the shoulders and an uncomfortable twisting and jerking of the head and neck. Cervical dystonia will also cause severe headaches because of the involuntary jerking of the head.

Cervical dystonia most often found in women who are between 35-60 years old. It can occur at any age however and in both sexes. This condition can become debilitating for some patients. For others the condition will level off at a certain point and not get any worse. There is no cure for cervical dystonia. Sometimes this disorder will go into spontaneous remission, but the symptoms will typically recur about 2 years later. Remission usually occurs when the patient first begins to experience the symptoms at an early age. There is no cure for this condition. However, there are many different types of treatments. The cause for this condition is not yet known. Many professionals believe that it may be caused by a brain abnormality. Birth injuries, reactions to certain drugs, carbon monoxide poisoning and strokes are also thought to cause cervical dystonia. Hereditary may also be a factor. More research is being done to learn more about cervical dystonia.

Lateral rotations of the head and twisting of the neck are common symptoms of this condition. Sometimes the movements can be periodic or they may be sustained, leaving the head in an unnatural position. One or both shoulders may be affected. The shoulder can be lifted higher on one side or thrust forward on the side that the chin is turning too. The upper arm muscles may also be involved. When a person is under stress they experience more severe symptoms and the condition can worsen. Walking may make the condition worse as well. When the person is able to relax and sleep the condition will improve. Cervical dystonia is the most common of the focal dystonias. Sensory tricks may work to alleviate the symptoms for some people who have this condition as well, but it is not known why they work. Sensory tricks can be something as simple as putting a hand on top of the head or placing a hand on the side of the face, chin or back of the head. People who have this condition can also suffer from muscle hypertrophy and up to 40% of the people who have cervical dystonia also have head tremors or hand tremors.

Prescription medications and pain pills can help relax the muscles and relieve discomfort ease the pain. Massage therapy can also help to relax the muscles for people who suffer from this condition. Most of the therapies used are aimed at eliminating or reducing the muscle spasm that occur with this condition. Prescription medications can be used to help correct imbalances in the neurotransmitters in the brain. Some patients may not respond to these types of drugs however. Several types of drugs may be used to treat the symptoms of cervical dystonia. Surgery may be recommended for some patients when prescription medications do not work for them. Surgery usually involves destroying part of the thalamus which is the area in the brain that controls movements. Sometimes the nerves are cut that affect the particular muscles that are jerking and twisting. However, this type of surgery can be disfiguring and may be irreversible.

Last updated on Nov 30th, 2009 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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