What is Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is a focal dystonia characterized by neck muscles contracting involuntarily, causing abnormal movements and awkward posture of the head and neck. Cervical dystonia most often happens in middle-aged people, between 30-60 years old. Spasmodic torticollis is finding in women more than men.

In a few fortunate people, cervical dystonia may go away. When it does go away, there always is the risk that it may come back. Spasmodic torticollis is estimated to affect approximately 125,000 people in the United States, yet awareness of the condition is extremely limited.

How Can i know Symptoms and Signs?

In Spasmodic torticollis, the neck muscles contract involuntarily. If the contractions are sustained, they may cause abnormal posture of the head and neck. If the spasms are periodic or patterned, they may produce jerky head movements. Most people who have cervical dystonia also experience neck pain that can radiate into the shoulders. The muscle contractions involved in cervical dystonia can cause your head to twist in a variety of directions, Chin toward shoulder, Ear toward shoulder, Chin straight up, Chin straight down.

What are Causes and Reasons?

  • Head, neck or shoulder injuries are main and common reasons of Cervical dystonia
  • Cervical dystonia is believed to be due to abnormal functioning of the basal ganglia, which are deep brain structures involved with the control of movement.
  • In most cases, the cause of cervical dystonia is unknown.

Risk Factors

  •  Cervical dystonia disorder can occur in people of any age, even children; it most commonly begins between the ages of 40 and 70.
  • Family history: If a close family member has cervical dystonia or some other type of dystonia, you are at higher risk of developing the disorder.


Some people who start out with cervical dystonia eventually develop similar symptoms in neighboring regions, such as the shoulder or face. However, cervical dystonia in middle age does not expand to wide areas of the body, as may occur in children.

What preparation before appointment with doctor?

  1. Information about past medical conditions.
  2. All detailed descriptions of your symptoms, including when they started.
  3. Information about the medical problems of your parents and families.
  4. All the medications and supplements you having. Including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal products.
  5. Questions, What you would like to ask the doctor?
  6. Tell your doctor about all your muscle or nerve conditions

Tests and Diagnosis

  • Blood or urine tests.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Electromyography (EMG).
  • X-ray

Medications  and  Drugs

  1. Botulinum toxin injections are the primary and most effective form of treatment for cervical dystonia.
  2. Parkinson’s drugs.
  3. Pain medications
  4. Muscle relaxants
  5. Artane (benzhexol)
  6. Cogentin (benztropine)


  • Gentle physical therapy with a physical therapist that specializes in neurological disorders may improve range of motion and help reduce pain.
  • Exercises and Yoga that improve neck strength and flexibility. Exercises helps in removing neck stiffness  and give relief form cervical dystonia
  • Complementary therapies should be explored and regular relaxation practices may significantly benefit discomfort and pain.
  • Use of a Neck brace, Cervical Neck traction device, Cervical Neck Support Pillow is helpful in pain relief from spasmodic torticollis.
  • Training of stress management for Spasmodic torticollis.

Surgical Treatment and other Procedures

  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS).
  • Cutting muscles or nerves.

Home Remedies

  1. Aloe barberae leaves are very affective herbal treatment for cervical dystonia. You would need to boil 8-10 leaves of this herb in 300 ml of water for 40 mins. After cooling and straining this decoction; drink 40ml twice everyday for 25 days and the symptoms of cervical dystonia would subside.
  2. Heat to the neck will also give immediate relief from spasmodic torticollis. A hot bath is also known for its ability to relieve stress as well as ease muscular tension. Allowing hot water to flow down the neck is known to be beneficial. Heat packs may help loosen the taut muscles in your neck and help with pain relief.
  3. Get your proper sleep and rest to get relief from spasmodic torticollis.
  4. Massage techniques also work as alternative medicine for cervical dystonia.

 YouTube Videos

Video 1 – Spasmodic Toticollis Cervical Dystonia and Botox

Video 2Cervical dystonia – Botox & physical therapy


 Article Sourcewww.allergan.com








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