Cervical Dystonia Los Angeles

What is Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical dystonia, also known as torticollis, is a neurological movement disorder that causes abnormal twisting of the neck to one side. The neck twisting to one side occurs intermittently in the early stages of cervical dystonia. Over time the issue becomes a continuous and debilitating lifelong condition. Individuals with cervical dystonia suffer from a number of issues such as neck pain, tenderness in the cervical spine, head tremors, and uneven shoulder height. Cervical dystonia primarily occurs between the ages of 20 and 40.

In most cases, the precise cause of cervical dystonia is unknown and the symptoms are treated without knowing the underlying cases. Still, there are other potential causes of cervical dystonia, such as:

  • Congenital spine abnormalities
  • Brain trauma
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Brain lesions
  • Spine infections
  • Brain tumors
Thank you very much for your sincere care Dr. Nader Pouratian. Dr. Pouratian diagnosed me with cervical dystonia in 2017, where as so many other neurologist missed diagnosed me before him for several years. Dr. Pouratian did deep brain surgery on me on January of 2019. He gave my life back, I do not have much pain and tremors any more, and I know I get better soon, as this kind of surgery takes time to get the highest result. I love this dr. Dearly, he is so understanding and he gave me all the attention that I needed. I hope that God Bless him and gives him long healthy life that he will be able to save more lives, as he did mine. Thank you very much dr. Pouratian.Self-verified patient of Dr. Pouratian

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Treatment Options

There are non-surgical and surgical options for managing cervical dystonia. In general, research suggests earlier intervention is more effective, before the symptoms become very severe and fixed. Non surgical options include:

  • Relaxation training
  • Physical therapy
  • Neuropsychiatric evaluation
  • Tram-epidermal neurostimulation (TENS) of the neck
  • Targeted botulinum toxin injections

If non-surgical options prove to be ineffective or if the disorder is debilitating, then surgery can be considered. The primary treatment option is deep brain stimulation, targeting the globus pallidus internus. Nearly 75-80% of patients with cervical dystonia respond to deep brain stimulation, although it can take 6-12 months to see a response. Earlier surgery, when patients are still able to rotate the neck back past the midline, seems to be more effective. To be a candidate, one should have tried and failed to respond to botulinum toxin therapy.

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