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Conditions

Cervical Dystonia

Cervical Dystonia

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Cervical dystonia, also known as torticollis, is the most common type of dystonia and affects the muscles in the neck. There are thought to be 40,000 people in the UK with this condition with the average age of sufferers being the early 40s, and with more women being affected than men. Cervical dystonia causes the muscles in the neck to spasm or contract meaning that the head and neck twist, are pulled forward, pulled backward or pulled from side to side. These symptoms can range from being very mild to very severe and from jerky spasms to being quite sustained. As a result these symptoms can cause additional problems of neck pain and stiffness. Living with cervical dystonia can be difficult to cope with, as head turning can stop someone seeing the road whilst driving and make it difficult to eat, brush teeth or apply makeup. Therefore, many people with the condition find embarrassment and anxiety a major symptom as well.

Cervical dystonia is known as being a late-onset primary dystonia. Being part of this group means that the cause for cervical dystonia is unknown and in fact the condition itself is poorly understood. Cervical dystonia tends to develop gradually and in a quarter of all cases this is accompanied by trembling hands. It is thought that most cases of primary dystonia are caused by problems with a part of the brain known as the basal ganglia. This is a collection of brain cells that are responsible for sending messages from the brain to various muscles in order to move them. It is suspected that the basal ganglia does not produce enough neurotransmitters, or it produces the wrong type, resulting in problems with muscle function.

Stress can often cause the symptoms of cervical dystonia to worsen, and it has been reported that hypnotherapy and relaxation techniques can help by relieving stress. In most sufferers the condition will worsen over five years until the symptoms begin to stabilise, but a third of patients go on to develop segmental dystonia affecting the arm. Also, in around 10% of patients the symptoms can stop spontaneously and then reoccur later.

Unfortunately there is no cure, however there are some treatments available that can control the symptoms. Core treatment must be carried out by a neurologist, with botox being a common prescribed treatment. Other treatments include medication, muscle relaxants and physical therapy. With cervical dystonia, neck spasming can normally be relieved by touching your chin, neck or back of the head, known as a sensory trick, but the reason why this helps is unknown. Selective peripheral denervation surgery is also an option for those with cervical dystonia. This procedure allows the doctor to cut away the nerve endings that are connected to the spasming resulting in some loss of feeling in the neck afterwards.

For more information about Dystonia go to The Dystonia Society

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Hi! My mother (49 years old ) has the cervical uncarthrosis and after various neurological visits , she suffers of a tingling in left hand. She feels a tingling on little finger that it continues in all arm ... Sorry for my very bad english ! What do you mean ? What do you think of this uncoarthrosis?





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Please everyone most dystonias are caused by tmj disorder see a tmj specialist there's also a clinic in Korea you can find it on you tube Korea tmj disorder cervical dystonia) I've had cervical dystonia for about 10 yrs saw the damn neurologist who told me my fate and then I never went back to him I made my home a sanctuary away from stress away from everyone and I got 45% better however now that I got diagnosed with tmj disorder it makes perfect sense so I'm about to receive my oral device and hopefully all my symptoms should deminish if not all at least to 80% I would be perfectly happy





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Hi, after suffering SEVERE stress and mental trauma I began to experience neck problems. My neck started to pull over to the right side and was accompanied by very painful muscle contractions. After endless tests, 2 m.r.I. scans, a course of physiotherapy and after being prescribed endless pills I finally got a diagnosis a couple of months ago. This took just over 3 years and 3 weeks ago my neurologist gave me botox. For the past week I have been experiencing heart palpitations, breathing difficulties and tightness in my chest. Also feel very anxious and nauseas. I am now seriously considering not having any more botox as at themoment it feels like the cure is worse than the Illness.





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Hello. I started with head and neck issues some six months ago. Prior to that I had never experienced any problems at all. I am a male in my late forties and very physically fit. I don't smoke and only drink occasionally. My problem started with a slight head twitch to my right side. I knew I was doing it but ignored it. A few weeks later I approached my doctor who said it was nothing to worry about. Weeks later my head began to pull to my right side. This followed painfull muscle spasms in my neck with muscles locked tense. I tried a chiropractor and that was a waste of time. My physio is great and when he noticed my head tremour last week he said I must return to my doctor who has now referred my to a neurologist. I'm really scared and apprehensive and have never been so worried about what is happening and how it now rules my daily life.





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Hi,i have had neck dystonia for several years now which is treated with botox every 10 weeks.I have been having a lot of trouble with my right arm.I have mentioned it to my nurse but haven't got an answer just a could be.I need to get this sorted as my day to day life is being affected eg like dropping items and grip.Any advice welcome. thank you Pheona





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I am waiting to go and see a neurologist, as I believe I have this condition due to my own online research. Does anybody know of any medications that may help? Or any exercises and coping methods? Thanks in advance .





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Hi I'm a 54 year old woman and have suffered with dystonia for nearly seven years it was great to read all your comments and makes you realise your not alone. Hi highly recommend anybody to join the dystonia society I subscribe to it every year it is hardly any money and the help they give you with advice on benefits treatments etc etc is the best and there is always someone on help line if you need them www.dystonia.uk.org





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Hi I'm a 25 yr old male I've been getting this for over 7 years now and been to embarrassed to go to the docs incase he thought I was crazy but now I have researched it. It looks like I'm not the only one to have this horrible curse what is taking over my life my head keeps going side to side an back an forth it's a nightmare





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I've been suffering with this for about ten years now, and like most people who have commented then I also have the three monthly Botox injections. One drug which really does help is Rivotril, which is an anti-epilipsy drug. I didn't see it mentioned here which surprised me. That's the brand name but the generic name is Clonazepam I would highly recommend that you ask your doctor about it since it is the standard drug prescribed for CD here in the Czech Republic but maybe your doctor doesn't know about it. And you should really ask to see a neurologist about this condition because most doctors are unfamiliar with it.





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I am so happy to see that i'm not the only one for whom the symptoms happen when I lay down. My neurologist said he'd never seen a case like mine where the spasms and twisting actually occurs when any part of my head or neck touches anything. My symptoms started in feb 2014 and they progressed very quickly and I was diagnosed with cervical dystonia in feb 2015. I have been prescribed a non addictive sleep aid called zoplicone 7.5mg, so no more laying there for hours in agony with neck spasms, until the exhaustion sets in to finally fall asleep. This drug leaves a bad taste in your mouth the next day until you get use to it. No day after groggyness. I just had my second round of botox which stopped the twisting but the muscles still contract and stiffen when I lay down. I also find sitting in a soft chair triggers the spasms. He assures me that the symptoms will decrease with every treatment. I must say that not being able to lay down and watch a movie or even lean my head on my husband's shoulder is frustratin. But after reading all the ways that cervical dystonia affects people's daily lives makes me feel like it could be worst.





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