Cervical Dystonia

What is cervical dystonia, and what are my treatment options?

Cervical dystonia is a rare neurological condition that affects around 60,000 Americans. An abnormal signal from the brain to the muscles can trigger pain, pulling, spasms, or tremors.

Our neurologist here at OrthoNeuro in Columbus, Ohio, offers expert diagnosis and treatment to relieve this painful condition. Call your doctor for a referral to our neurologist today.

What Is Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis) is a rare and painful condition.

Involuntary muscle contractions in your neck force your head into a tilted position. The muscle contractions can cause your head to twist sideways, forward, or backward.

The most common position is rotation of the head. Some patients experience a range of abnormal twists and muscle contractions, or their heads may involuntarily jerk or shake.

Patients of any age and gender can develop cervical dystonia.

However, the condition is most prevalent between the ages of 40 and 60. The disease usually begins gradually and becomes progressively more severe over time.

What Causes Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical dystonia can be genetic but you can develop the issue without a family history of the disease. The primary risk factors for cervical dystonia are your age, gender, and family history.  In some cases, this can be associated with trauma.

How Is Cervical Dystonia Diagnosed?

Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history before examining your neck, head, shoulders, and spine. They will ask about any medications that you take regularly and review other lifestyle factors. Testing may include X-rays and MRI.

How Is Cervical Dystonia Treated?

While there’s no cure for cervical dystonia, your neurologist at OrthoNeuro can provide treatments to relieve muscle spasms, pain, and tremors

Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend any of the following therapies:

Non-surgical options typically include the following:

  • Activity modification 
  • Bracing 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 
  • Corticosteroid injections 


Your physician may prescribe medications to relax your muscles and relieve spasms or tremors. 

Some of the drugs used to treat dystonia include:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Anti-depressant medications

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy, including stretches, massages, transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), and heat, can help with symptom management.

Botulinum Toxin Injections

Botulinum toxin (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) injections are the treatment of choice and temporarily relax your muscles. This can provide relief from the painful muscle spasms and contractions that force the abnormal twist in your neck.

Call your physician today for a referral to see our neurologist if you have any signs of cervical dystonia or other neurological conditions.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Neurological Specialist Today!

If you have been experiencing symptoms of cervical dystonia, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic Neurologists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 

We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you. Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.

Our Neurologist

“I’ve experienced a quality of life not seen in many years! Migraines no longer plague my daily existence, and am enjoying life again. Couldn’t give a higher recommendation.“
Jack A.