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Cervical Dystonia

What Are Movement Disorders?

Cervical dystonia is otherwise known as spasmodic torticollis. What this means is that one’s neck muscle will contract involuntarily. That can be quite painful. It may even cause your head to rotate to one side, twist, or tilt forwards and backwards. This is a rare disorder that is primarily prevalent in middle-aged adults, but can occur at any age.

What Are Movement Disorders Caused By?

For majority of cervical dystonia cases the cause is unknown. It could be due to a genetic component and be a part of one’s family history. In other cases, cervical dystonia can be caused by any head, neck, or shoulder injuries. Although this disorder can occur at any time, it most commonly presents in individuals 30+ years of age. It is also more common in women than men. 

Signs and Symptoms of Movement Disorders

If you or someone you know has muscle contractions of their neck causing them to twist in any variety of the following directions, chin or ear toward shoulder, or chin up or chin down, you could be experiencing cervical dystonia. There may also be a radiating pain into one’s shoulder.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Disorders

In addition to the visual presentation that may help with a diagnosis of cervical dystonia, a physical examination can also be done to confirm the diagnosis. Although there’s no cure, treatment is available to address the symptoms. Botulinum toxin drugs like Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin can be used as a paralyzing agent and injected directly into the neck muscle causing the contractions.

Additionally, use of heat packs and massage may help relax the muscles of the neck and shoulder. Combining these methods of treatment with exercises may be beneficial with increasing neck strength and flexibility.

Related Physicians

The providers at Kansas City Bone and Joint Clinic each have their own areas of specialty. Click on the providers below to read more about them.

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