Cervical Dystonia is also known as spasmodic torticollis. It is a neurological condition which is very rare, making the muscles of the neck region to contract involuntarily. The condition can cause the head to bend sideways or to the front or back.
Though Cervical Dystonia is a very rare condition mostly seen in the elderly, it is also one of the most common forms of focal dystonias that affect certain parts of the body.
Symptoms Of Cervical Dystonia
The symptoms of Cervical Dystonia present itself with jerky head movements which can cause the head to jerk from the left or right or front or back. These movements can be periodic in nature or sustained for a few seconds with the motions always being jerky and unnatural. The most common type of jerky movement that is noted is known as the rotational Cervical Dystonia where the head moves in an unnatural way towards the sides or laterally. The head can sometimes tilt or flex sideways in a twisted pose which is known as lateral torticollitis.
In rare cases, the tilting happens to the front which is known as anterocollis or to the back when it is called retrocollis. Accompanying symptoms of Cervical Dystonia include elevation of shoulders, pain in the neck, tremors of the hand and arms etc.
Complications Due To Cervical Dystonia
The most common complication that arises due to Cervical Dystonia is the damage caused to the nerves that can be permanent. The symptoms can also spread to other areas like the trunk, face, jaw arms etc. Most people suffering from Cervical Dystonia are faced with severe depression that sets in due to the condition and the social stigma attached to it. Along with it comes the suffering due to pain caused by the condition.
Causes Of Cervical Dystonia
A number of factors can be taken into consideration while analysing the cause of Cervical Dystonia. The most common reason for Cervical Dystonia to set in is the inability of the brain to create chemical messages that help the cells of the brain to communicate with each other.
Cervical Dystonia can also be caused due to injuries of the neck, shoulders of head, tumours in the brain and spinal cord, heavy metals and other toxins like carbon monoxide, certain drugs like the ones used for depression, anti psychotic drugs and medications used for nausea.
Treatment For Cervical Dystonia
Cervical Dystonia mostly affects women and also people above the age of 40. Those people who are genetically disposed to Cervical Dystonia and have other forms of dystonia too are more susceptible to the disorder.
Unfortunately there is no cure for Cervical Dystonia other than that the symptoms can be relieved. Medications for pain relief and botox injections are sometimes administered in order to stop the twitching. Muscle relaxants and medications given for Parkinson’s disease too are prescribed for Cervical Dystonia in order to stop the tremors. Severe cases might require surgical intervention where a device is inserted for stimulating the brain electrically and also to provide relief from twitching by cutting off the nerves as well as the muscles responsible for Cervical Dystonia.