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Cervical Dystonia

Cervical dystonia can be extremely painful. Also known as spasmodic torticollis, the condition is characterized by involuntary contractions of the neck muscles. These hard contractions can cause the head to tilt, twist, or turn in any direction. The movements are uncontrollable and can be very painful.

Causes

While there is no definitive cause, it is believed that genetics may play a role. Severe injuries to the shoulders, neck, and head may also be considered as a cause. Your risk of being diagnosed with cervical dystonia increases dramatically if you are a female over the age of 30.
Before making a final diagnosis, your doctor may inquire if you have a family history of cervical dystonia or similar conditions.

Symptoms

Symptoms present themselves gradually and are characterized in hard muscle contractions that cause the head to tilt forward, backward, or to the side. Your chin may also be forced upward or downward, depending on how the muscles are affected. Jerking motions are also common.

Cervical Dystonia Treatment Options

Cervical dystonia has no known cure, but its symptoms can be treated. Treatment that involves Botox and Myobloc injections have been shown to provide at least modest relief. Physical therapy, deep tissue massage, and the use of heating pads or packs have also been effective.
Although cervical dystonia is rare, it most often occurs in middle-aged women, but may present itself in men, as well. The condition tends to worsen when a person is under stress. Talking to your physician will help you find treatment options that will improve your quality of life and make you feel more comfortable.


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