Cervical dystonia can also be known as Spasmodic Torticollis and is a neurological condition which causes involuntary and prolonged contraction (spams) of the muscles in the neck. This results in the head turning and twisting to one side. This can lead to an abnormal posture which can also cause pain. Head tremors can also occur.
At present there is no cure and we are still unsure why some people develop the disorder and others don’t. One treatment strategy that can help manage the dystonia is botulinum toxin injection into the effected muscles. This helps to weaken the muscles to allow to head position to realign to the centre. Botulinum Toxin injections should then be followed up with a rehabilitation program focusing on strengthening postural muscles and working on the realignment of the head to get the most out of this treatment.
Jean Pierre Belton has been one of the physiotherapy pioneers of treatment for Cervical Dystonia. He advocates the importance of seeing a physiotherapist to assist with your rehab as different techniques are needed depending on which muscles in the neck are involved. However a few of his valuable tips are listed below.
- Devote at least half an hour a day to your exercise
- Relax – try to reduce any stress, depression or anxiety (these all increase the spasm)
- Perform active corrective exercises (supplied by your physio)
- Try to keep your head in the correct alignment when sitting and relaxing to watch the TV or listen to the radio etc by giving your body lots of support in sitting
- Arrange your work area that you need to keep turning your head to the correcting position
- Hold the telephone on the opposite side to the affected neck muscles
- Try to position yourself so you talk to people while looking round to the corrective side
- Perform retraining exercises in the swimming pool
- Wear a cervical collar
- Adopt the posture of torticollis
- Hold your head in your hands
- Carry a shoulder strap bag on the shoulder of the side of your head rotation
- Isolate yourself from social and professional activities
- Don’t have manipulation of the vertebrae of the neck
If you require more information, please contact us at the office on 02 9906 7777