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
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.