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Botox for Treatment of Cervical Dystonia

Cervical dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is a neurological condition involving spasms that produce repetitive contortions in the neck muscles making it difficult for the person to hold their head up.

The condition is exceedingly painful and impairs normal motion. It can affect people of any age but women in their 40’s are affected twice as much as men. The symptoms appear gradually and spasms may be sporadic.

How is it treated?

While there are medical specialists that treat cervical dystonia such as neurologists and physical therapists, the treatment most frequently used is Botox injections. It works so well in fact, that it is the only treatment that is needed to help them manage their symptoms. There is no cure for the condition, but Botox is effective at treating it.

Botox is injected into the muscles in the neck and shoulders to control the spasms and odd head position common with the disorder. With most patients, the effects last for about 3 months. Exercises that stretch the neck muscles and a therapeutic brace used in combination with Botox therapy are sometimes helpful in easing some of the symptoms. Surgery is often recommended for the most severe cases that do not respond to treatment. In those cases, the nerve leading to the affected muscle can be severed creating a lasting solution to the problem but surgery carries risks and is considered only as a last resort.

A major clinical trial conducted recently noted that a large percentage of people who were given Botox injections for the treatment of cervical dystonia saw a remarkable improvement in neck movement, head posture, and decreased neck pain. They were able to resume their normal activities without pain.

The results of Botox include:

  • Corrects head and neck position
  • Enables performance of routine activities
  • Relieves or eliminates neck pain from muscle contractions
  • Some patients may need multiple doses and results may vary from person to person

The muscle spasms and painful contractions are the result of the over-stimulation of the nerves leading to the neck muscles. Botox is injected in the muscles of the neck blocks these nerves and the pain signals from these nerves. The pain and symptoms are eliminated for 3 months at a time.

Botox is often recommended in combination with physical therapy and prescription medications. Surgery offers a more permanent solution but is also riskier and reserved only in cases when the patient does not respond to other treatments. Ask your doctor what is the best treatment for cervical dystonia, and if Botox treatment may be right for you.

Botox for Treatment of Cervical Dystonia
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