Jonathan Aarons M.D.

Tired of Chronic Pain?

Spasmodic Torticollis

Spasmodic Torticollis
Spasmodic Torticollis

Spasmodic Torticollis, also called Cervical Dystonia, is a condition where painful muscle spasm causes the neck to twist to one side. The symptoms can be tonic, which are fixed or clonic, which is a shaking motion. The bending of the neck can be rotational, lateral bending, forward bending or backward bending.  Although they can occur at any age, middle age is the most common time for the symptoms to appear.  Women are more frequently affected then men.  The incidence is about 3 people in 10,000.  The pain of spasmodic torticollis originates in the neck, radiates to the shoulder and can be associated with headache.  The cause of spasmodic torticollis is unknown, but may be linked to neck injuries and is associated with certain types of medications.  Testing includes MRI of the brain to look for abnormalities.  Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is used to look for aneurysms.  Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCV) are used to look for muscle and nerve diseases.  Treatment includes medications such as muscle relaxants, anti-convulsants  and anti-parkionsons medications.  In severe cases, surgery to cut the muscles and nerves can be used to reduce the pain.  Deep Brain Stimulation has also been used in the most difficult cases.

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