Cervical Dystonia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Cervical Dystonia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Cervical dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is a condition in which there is an involuntary contraction of the neck muscles accompanied by pain. This causes the head to appear to be turning to one side. This condition can also cause uncontrolled tilt of the head forward or backward.

Torticollis is a rare disease that can occur at any age. However, this condition most often occurs in someone who is middle age and is experienced more by women than men.

General tortical signs and symptoms develop slowly. Sometimes this condition can subside without treatment, but generally it doesn’t last long. Treatment includes injecting botulinum toxin into the muscles involved can often relieve the signs and symptoms of torticollis. In addition, in some cases, surgical procedures may also be recommended.

Cervical Dystonia Symptoms

The muscle contractions that occur in torticollis can cause the head to turn in many directions, including:

• Chin towards the back
• Ears towards the back
• Chin towards the top
• Chin towards the bottom

The most common head rotation in torticollis is chin to back. Some individuals also experience a combination of several directions of head rotation. Occasionally, jerking movements of the head may also occur.

Most individuals with torticollis also experience pain in the neck that can radiate to the back. This disorder can also cause headaches. In some people, pain caused by torticollis can interfere with daily activities.

Cervical Dystonia Reason

In most cases of torticollis, the cause is not known with certainty. Some people with torticollis have a family history of similar complaints, and genetic factors are thought to play a role in the occurrence of this disease. Torticollis is sometimes associated with injuries to the head, neck, or back.

Some of the risk factors associated with torticollis are:

• Age. While this disorder can occur at any age, torticollis is most common in individuals over 30 years of age.

• Gender. Women have a higher chance of experiencing torticollis than men.

• Family history. A person has a higher chance of experiencing torticollis if there are close family members who also experience torticollis or other types of dystonia.


The process of establishing a diagnosis of torticollis is generally determined from medical interviews and direct physical examination. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a blood test or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rule out other possible causes for your signs and symptoms.

Cervical Dystonia Treatment

In some people, signs and symptoms of torticalis subside without treatment. However, recurrences, or instances where signs and symptoms recur, are observed quite frequently. Treatment for torticollis is aimed at overcoming the signs and symptoms experienced.

Some types of treatment that can be done include:

Treatment. Treatment using botulinum toxin, a muscle-relaxing agent often used in the treatment of wrinkles, can be given by injection into the neck muscles involved in torticollis.
Some individuals with torticollis show improvement in their symptoms with this medication, which is generally repeated every three to four months.

To optimize results and reduce the dose and frequency of botulinum toxin injections, doctors may prescribe oral medication that has a muscle-relaxing effect.

Therapy. Several types of therapy can also help relieve complaints experienced in torticollis. Exercises that increase flexibility and neck muscle strength may show benefits.

Surgical procedures. If various types of treatment do not show improvement, the doctor may recommend surgery. This procedure involves nerve cells sending contraction signals to the muscles involved.


No preventive measures against torticollis have been proven to be fully effective. This is because the exact cause of this condition is still not known for certain until now.

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