Cervical dystonia is a rare movement disorder which causes a person’s muscles to contract uncontrollably. It is a painful condition in which your neck muscles contract involuntarily and your head twist or turn to one side. Cervical dystonia also cause your head to uncontrollably or disorderly, tilt forward or backward.
Cervical dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis, can occur at any age, but most often occurs in middle-aged people, women more than men. Symptoms generally begin slightly and then reach a point where they don’t get significantly worse.
Cervical dystonia symptoms and causes vary. It may be inherited, and one gene that plays a role has been identified. However, other causes have also been identified, for example, taking certain medications. Some diseases, such as some kinds of lung cancer, can also produce cervical dystonia symptoms and causes.
Symptoms of Cervical dystonia
- Chin toward shoulder
- Ear toward shoulder
- Chin straight up
- Chin straight down
- Head tremor, which affects around half of people with cervical dystonia
- Enlargement of the neck muscle, affecting almost 75 percent of people with cervical dystonia
- Unknowing of physical movements not affected by dystonia
- Neck pain which is radiating towards the shoulders
- A raised shoulder
- Hand tremors
- Involuntary pulling of the neck
- Uncontrollable blinking
- Speech difficulties
- A dragging leg
- Cramping of the foot
What causes cervical dystonia?
Most cases of cervical dystonia do not have a specific cause. However, it seems to be related to a problem in the basal ganglia area of the brain that is responsible for initiating muscle contractions. The problem depends on how the nerve cells communicate.
Some possible cervical dystonia causes which is identified in most of the cases are;
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s
- Medication that blocks dopamine, such as some antipsychotics
- Brain trauma
- Oxygen deprivation
- Drug reactions
- Poisoning caused by carbon monoxide or lead
- Wilson’s disease
- Traumatic brain or spine injury
- Huntington’s disease
- MS (multiple sclerosis)
- Some infections, such as encephalitis, TB (tuberculosis), or HIV
- A genetic mutation, as around 10 to 25 percent of people with cervical dystonia may have a family history of the disease
- A psychological problem
Risk factors of cervical dystonia
Other than these cervical dystonia symptoms and causes, some risks are also present for cervical dystonia. It is estimated to affect about 60,000 people in the United States. Those at risk include:
- Women, who are affected about twice as much as men
- People between ages 40 and 60
- Those with a family history of dystonia
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