What Is Torticollis (Dystonia) And How Is It Caused?

What Is Torticollis (Dystonia) And How Is It Caused?

What Is Torticollis?

Torticollis comes from the Latin: torti (twisted) and collis (neck).Torticollis (sometimes called cervical dystonia or spasmodic torticollis) is a condition in which the muscles controlling the neck are locked in a sustained contraction causing the neck to twist to one side. Different forms of torticollis can cause the head to twist to the side, to tilt back, to tilt forward or lean ear to shoulder.It can be a very painful condition that can cause a lot of distress.photo courtesy of widipedia

Types Of Torticollis

Torticollis usually begins between age 30-60, with women affected twice as often as men. According to the National Spasmodic Torticollis Association, torticollis affects 83,000 people in the United States.

There are three types of torticollis:
* tonic, in which the abnormal posture is sustained
* clonic, marked by jerky head movements.
* mixed, a combination of tonic and clonic movements

Torticollis in Real Life

Crooked Twisted Neck Cervical Dystonia Spasmodic Torticollis
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Torticollis Symptoms And Causes

The nerve signals responsible for torticollis are thought to originate in the basal ganglia, a group of brain structures involved in movement control. The exact defect is unknown.

Symptoms usually begin gradually, and may come and go, becoming worse in times of stress. Symptoms usually progress over a few years, and then become steady.
People who suffer from torticollis sometimes feel relief when lying down.

Pain in the neck, shoulder or back affects more than two-thirds of all people with torticollis. Pain may also spread to the arm or hand.

Learn More About Torticollis and Dystonia

Torticollis Treatment

There are diffferent avenues for treating torticollis (cervical dystonia) but the preferred torticollis treatment is botox injections. Botox temporarily paralyzes the muscles allowing for normal range of movement. Oral drugs such as muscle relaxers can provide relief also.

There are alternative routes other than pharmaceuticals that can be very helpful. Physical therapy can help relieve secondary consequences of torticollis. Regular muscle stretching prevents permanent muscle shortening. Pain and spasm may be temporarily lessened with application of heat or ice.

Regular massage therapy can reduce additional pain in affected areas of the body. Energy-based therapies, such as acupuncture, can work to rebalance the whole person, helping to correct the torticollis. Antispasmodic herbs may help to relax the muscles. In addition, herbs that can help balance the stimulus from the nervous system are often beneficial.

In some cases people opt for surgery.

Different Surgeries For Torticollis, Cervical Dystonia

There are two different types of brain surgeries performed for torticollis: lesioning procedures, which consists of selective destruction of specific, abnormal brain tissue, and deep brain stimulation, which mimics lesioning by manipulating selective brain areas with non-destructive electrical pulses.

Surgery is usually reserved for those people whose torticollis does not respond satisfactorily to other treatments and therapies. The effects of surgery occur on the side of the body opposite the surgical site. Although there are risks involved,
studies have shown that both procedures can result in marked improvement with minimal complications. Some patients can completely stop any drug therapies after surgery.

Dealing With Torticollis Through Relaxation And Comfort

Earthlite TC Home Massage Principles and Techniques DVD

Earthlite TC Home Massage Principles and Techniques DVD

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Getting The Word Out About Torticollis

Torticollis (cervical dystonia) is a condition that many people suffer through or deal with everyday and so many of us are unaware of this fact. I hope I have been able to bring about some much needed attention to this movement disorder and some understanding of how it impacts these people’s lives.

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