What are the Causes of Cervical Dystonia?

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Cervical dystonia (CD) is a painful neurological condition that causes neck muscles to tighten involuntarily. This makes the head turn uncontrollably backward, forward, or to the side. It can also cause your head to shake.

CD is sometimes called spasmodic torticollis. While it has no cure, board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Dr. Asare Christian is trained in treating the condition using neurotoxin medicine.

Below, we'll look at what causes cervical dystonia and why patients in Wayne, PA should visit Dr. Christian at Aether Medicine to help relieve their pain.

What is neurotoxin medicine, and how can it treat cervical dystonia?

Neurotoxin medicine refers to the treatment of conditions with injectables like BOTOX®, Dysport®, XEOMIN®, and MYOBLOC®. These purified neurotoxins contain purified proteins that block the signals between nerve cells and muscles. They are often used in aesthetics to paralyze muscles that contract to cause the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes and on the forehead. Now, they're being used in a branch of specialized medicine that treats some muscle and nerve disorders.

Because cervical dystonia is characterized by uncontrollable muscle contractions, neurotoxin medicine can be a helpful way to stop the pain and spasms in a patient's body. Treatments such as BOTOX may be able to stop or reduce the spasms that cause a patient's head to jerk and twist uncomfortably and interfere with everyday activities.

What causes cervical dystonia?

It's still unknown precisely what causes the involuntary muscle movements that characterize CD. In some cases, patients have a family history of the disorder, suggesting a genetic component. However, CD can also occur after head, neck, or shoulder injuries. Occasionally, symptoms appear out of nowhere without an apparent cause.

CD is most common in people over 30, though it can begin at any age. It's also more common in women and those who have a family history of some type of dystonia.

What are the benefits of treating CD with neurotoxin medicine, like BOTOX?

While neurotoxins such as BOTOX are temporary, they are quick, easy, and safe to administer, and the treatments are relatively painless.

When neurotoxins are used to treat CD, patients can typically expect results within 1 – 2 weeks, and the treatment lasts anywhere from 3 – 6 months before another appointment is needed. Patients can schedule follow-up appointments with Dr. Christian at the time of treatment so that symptoms can be kept at bay and the treatment does not lapse.

It's essential to see a doctor and devise a treatment plan for CD. Untreated cervical dystonia can potentially lead to long-term damage, and the involuntary muscle contractions can spread to nearby areas of the body, including the face, arms, or trunk. People with CD can also experience chronic neck pain, headaches, and limited neck mobility from these uncontrollable and unnatural sudden movements.

When CD is treated early on, it can help save your muscles and keep them as strong and healthy as possible.

Treating cervical dystonia in Wayne, PA

If you have cervical dystonia, board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Dr. Asara Christian will review your medical records to confirm the root cause of your condition and walk you through potential treatment options. If neurotoxin medicine is right for you, you'll discuss a treatment plan with goals, expectations, and follow-ups, as well as any risks and benefits you can expect.

If you're ready to get started, simply schedule a consultation today at Aether Medicine in Wayne, PA.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.