7 Everyday Questions About Cervical Dystonia

If you’re suffering from neck pain and stiffness that makes it hard to turn your head, you may have cervical dystonia. You may also hear it called spasmodic torticollis or cervical dystonia syndrome (CDS).

Though uncommon, cervical dystonia can sometimes start as early as your teenage years and is more likely to occur in women than men. At first, you may only notice mild neck stiffness after moving your head in certain ways but the condition can progress and cause more severe neck pain and greater difficulty turning your head.

Here are seven common questions everyone asks during cervical dystonia treatment. Let’s dive into detail to know more about this disease!


What Is Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical dystonia is a chronic disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions of muscles in your neck. These muscle contractions make it hard to move your head in any direction.

The most common symptoms are head pain, muscle spasms or cramping, dizziness, trouble swallowing, drooling and voice changes. Your doctor may call cervical dystonia torticollis or spasmodic torticollis. There’s no cure for cervical dystonia. There are cervical dystonia treatments that can help reduce symptoms and improve your ability to function on a daily basis.

Cervical dystonia is:

  • Congenital
  • Secondary, in the presence of other medical conditions, such as lesions of the brainstem or basal ganglia, or the use of dopamine antagonists.

In rare cases, dystonia is psychogenic. With this type of dystonia, pathophysiological poorly studied, functional neuroimaging revealed functional changes in the brain.

In many cases, the trigger is emotional stress or abnormal core personality with false beliefs. In such cases, an interdisciplinary team of specialists is involved in cervical dystonia treatment. It includes a neuropathologist, psychiatrist, and psychologist.

If you have signs of cervical dystonia or think you might have it, see your doctor right away for an accurate cervical dystonia treatment plan.

What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Dystonia?

The hallmark sign of cervical dystonia is spasmodic, involuntary muscle contractions in your neck. These can cause many different symptoms ranging from extreme pain to weakness to tingling sensations. They might also cause your head to twist or turn uncontrollably toward one side.

These may be accompanied by sensory issues including numbness, hypersensitivity, or tingling on one side of your face and body.

Other symptoms of cervical dystonia treatment include trouble with swallowing, speaking, chewing, opening your mouth fully, moving your eyes, and hearing.


How Is Cervical Dystonia Diagnosed?

If you’re experiencing symptoms of cervical dystonia, your doctor will likely recommend a few tests to diagnose your condition. One of these is an electromyography (EMG) test, which measures electrical activity in muscle fibers to determine how well your nerves are communicating with your muscles. Another test is called repetitive nerve stimulation (RNS), which evaluates how well individual nerves send signals throughout your body.

The diagnosis of cervical dystonia is dependent on the characteristic symptoms and signs. It depends on the exclusion of alternative diagnoses, including the following:

  • Tardive dyskinesiacan cause torticollis, but usually differs in a history of chronic neuroleptic use and involuntary muscle contractions outside the neck.
  • Lesions of the basal gangliaand, in some cases, infections of the central nervous system can also lead to the movement malfunction but other muscles are usually affected; CNS infections are usually acute and present with other symptoms.
  • Neck infections and tumorsare usually easily differentiated also by specific clinical manifestations;
  • The use of antipsychotics and other drugscan also provoke the development of acute torticollis, but its symptoms develop within a few hours and resolve within a few days after drug withdrawal.


Is There a Cervical Dystonia Treatment?

Many patients ask whether they should have surgery for cervical dystonia. The honest answer is that there is no easy, straight-forward answer to this question. Many patients are candidates for cervical dystonia surgery, but it is important to understand all of your cervical dystonia treatment options before making any decisions about how to proceed with your care.

Most importantly, talk with your doctor about your specific situation so you can make an informed decision on what steps are best for you.


Do I Need Surgery for Cervical Dystonia?

Some cervical dystonia sufferers are shocked when their doctors suggest that surgery may be an effective treatment for their condition.

Cervical dystonia treatment can alleviate neck pain, but it also has risks, including excessive bleeding, serious infection and complications from anesthesia.

If you’re suffering from cervical dystonia, your doctor can help you weigh surgical options against other treatment options to determine if surgery is right for you.


How Does Botox Treat Cervical Dystonia?

Botox is one of two FDA-approved, botulinum toxin-based treatments for cervical dystonia. The botulinum toxin has been used for decades to treat squinting or strabismus (commonly called crossed eyes).

Now it’s being used to treat involuntary head turning and neck spasms associated with cervical dystonia.

The use of Botox to treat cervical dystonia works by blocking neurotransmitters that cause muscles in the face and neck to contract uncontrollably.


Can You Have Neck Pain If You Have Cervical Dystonia?

It’s often difficult to tell if you have cervical dystonia or neck pain without seeing a doctor. A doctor can help diagnose your condition by asking you questions about your medical history and examining your spine, head, and neck. They provide cervical dystonia treatment as per your symptoms.

If they suspect cervical dystonia is contributing to your pain, they may send you for testing (also known as imaging studies) like an MRI of your brain or blood tests.

Hope this article helps you to know important things about cervical dystonia treatment!

Nicki Jenns

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