What is Cervical Dystonia?
Cervical dystonia, is a painful condition in which your neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing your head to turn to one side or cause your head to uncontrollably tilt forward or backward.
The most common abnormal movement in cervical dystonia is a twisting of the head and chin sideways, toward your shoulder, called torticollis. Other abnormal movements include abnormal movements of the head:
- tipping forward, chin downward, known as anterocollis
- tilting backward, chin upward, called retrocollis
- tilting sideways, ear to shoulder, known as laterocollis
The symptoms usually begin subtly. They may worsen and eventually reach a plateau. Symptoms may include:
- neck pain that radiates to the shoulders and head
- raised single or both shoulders
- head tremor, this affects about half of people with cervical dystonia
Causes and Risks
In most people with cervical dystonia, the cause is unknown. Many people who have cervical dystonia have a family history of the disorder. Cervical dystonia has been shown to be linked to head, neck or shoulder injuries.
Cervical dystonia risks include:
- people between ages 40-60
- people with a family history of dystonia
- women tend to be affected about twice as often as men
Treatment and Prevention
There is no cure for cervical dystonia. The disorder sometimes resolves without treatment. Injecting botulinum toxin into the affected muscles often reduces the symptoms of cervical dystonia.