Cervical Dystonia
Spasmodic Torticollis
 

Clearwater, Tampa, St Petersburg, Florida

Cervical dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition in which the neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing the head to twist to one side or to tilt uncontrollably forward or back.

Types of Cervical DystoniaCervical dystonia is a rare disorder that can occur at any age, even infancy, although it most commonly begins between the ages of 40 and 60.  Women are nearly two times more likely than men to develop cervical dystonia.

It is believed that cervical dystonia or spasmodic torticollis is a result from a defect in the brain’s ability to process chemical messages that allow brain cells to communicate with each other.  Some cases, however, appear to be linked to:  head, neck or shoulder injuries; stroke; tumors in the brain or spinal cord; drugs, including some antipsychotic, anti-nausea and antidepressant agents; or toxins, such as heavy metals and carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of Cervical Dystonia:   

    • Muscle contractions that cause the head to twist in a variety of directions.The most common type of twisting is when the chin is pulled toward the shoulder. The disorder may also cause the shoulder on the affected side to pull up toward the ear.
    • Neck pain that can radiate into the shoulders. The disorder also can cause severe headaches.
    • Tremors – Cervical dystonia may also cause tremors in the arm or hand.

Treatment for Cervical Dystonia

There is no cure for cervical dystonia, although the disorder sometimes resolves on its own. Treatment focuses on relieving the signs and symptoms, and can include:

    • Botox Injections – Injecting Botox (botulinum toxin) into the affected muscles can reduce the involuntary muscle contractions. Most people with cervical dystonia see an immediate improvement with this treatment.It usually must be repeated every three to four months.
    • Medications – Often a combination of medications is used to reduce signs and symptoms
    • Therapy – Stretching and strengthening exercises to improve posture can help reduce pain and may prolong the effect of Botox injections.
    • In rare cases, surgery may be appropriate.

If you continue to suffer with cervical dystonia and your current treatment plan leaves you feeling hopeless, perhaps a fresh set of experienced eyes can change your outlook.  Since 1990, Dennis M. Lox, M.D has applied his personal interests in sports medicine, cutting-edge regenerative medicine and chronic pain management to helping patients increase their quality of life. Contact us for an appointment at 727-462-5582.

Dr. Dennis Lox and the Florida Spine Center serve patients within the greater Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg, as well as all of Florida and the US.

All statements, information or opinions provided by this website are provided for educational purposes only. We do not diagnose nor treat through this website or by telephone. As you consider any treatment, discuss them with your physician.