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Dystonia Treatment Using Botulinum Toxin

You probably are very aware that Botox, or Botulinum Toxin, is used to reduce the look of wrinkles and lines on the face. You might also be aware that injections of Botox can help reduce the incidence of migraine headaches. In fact, Botox has multiple cosmetic and medical benefits for disorders relating to the nervous or muscular systems. Let’s learn about Dystonia treatment using Botulinum Toxin.

What Is Dystonia?

Cervical Dystonia is a rare disorder in the brain that causes involuntary muscle spasms in the neck. It is sometimes known as spasmodic torticollis. The spasms cause abnormal movement in the neck and head that are sustained, repetitive, and uncomfortable.

This results in abnormal neck positions and pain. This disorder typically begins in middle age, and rarely occurs in adolescence and young adulthood.

man with headache

Symptoms include neck twisting, head and neck thrusting forward, tilting back uncontrollably, or sideways. In some cases the spasms can resemble a tremor. It affects a person’s quality of life, daily activities, and employment.

In addition, Cervical Dystonia can also lead to cervical spine arthritis, compression of the nerve roots, and sometimes narrowing of the spinal cord in the neck called cervical stenosis.

Symptoms can temporarily become worse with stress or excitement.

Causes of Dystonia

The exact cause of cervical dystonia is unknown, but sometimes it can be linked to shoulder, neck, or head injuries. It can also be associated with certain anti-nausea and antipsychotic medications.

Treatment for Cervical Dystonia in Tacoma, WA

The American Academy of Neurology recommends Botox as a first line treatment for Cervical Dystonia.

Botox temporarily paralyzes muscles to help those with muscle or nerve disorders. It targets the nervous system disrupting signals that stimulate muscle contraction. Botox can be used alone or in conjunction with medications and/or surgery to relieve the symptoms of Dystonia

Botulinum Toxin is injected into the dystonic neck muscles in small doses. The effect on the muscle begins 2 to 3 days after the injections and peaks at around 4 months. It relieves symptoms for approximately 2 to 6 months. It is not a cure, but a symptoms treatment.

When the effect wears off, the symptoms will return, so another injection is needed.
Contact a physician who is highly knowledgeable about Cervical Dystonia and Botox, like Puget Sound Neurology, if you or someone you know suffers from this disorder. Call (253) 284-4488 to schedule an appointment at our office in Tacoma, WA today.

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