Cervical Dystonia

What is cervical dystonia ?

Cervical dystonia is characterized by excessive pulling of the muscles of the neck and shoulder. The excessive pulling causes the head to turn or tilt involuntarily. Most commonly, the head turns to one side or the other. Tilting sideways, or to the back or front may also occur. Often, the turning and tilting movements are accompanied by jerky or wobbly movements known as tremor. Also common is soreness of the muscles of the neck and shoulders.

Who gets cervical dystonia ?

People of all ages and all races all over the world get cervical dystonia. It most commonly begins in middle age, between 30-60 years old. Less commonly, it may begin in children or older adults. People of both sexes get cervical dystonia, but it is more common in women.

What causes cervical dystonia ?

In most cases, the cause of cervical dystonia is unknown.

How is cervical dystonia diagnosed ?

The diagnosis of cervical dystonia depends on recognition of its characteristic features by an expert, such as a neurologist. There are no medical tests for proving the diagnosis, but several tests may be conducted to rule out other possible problems. These tests may include blood tests or scans of the head or neck.

Are there treatments for cervical dystonia ?

The most useful treatments for cervical dystonia involve quieting the overactive muscles by injecting them with a muscle relaxer. The most commonly used medications are the botulinum toxins. Some patients take pills, and others go for surgery.