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Cervical Dystonia

Cervical dystonia (CD) is a condition in which the neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing the head to twist or turn to one side. It is also known as Spasmodic torticollis. It is often painful and negatively affects one’s quality of life.

Medical specialists don’t actually know the cause of CD. They theorize that CD is caused by aberrant nerve signals from the brain. To manage this condition, Botulinum toxin, is injected into the neck muscles to basically paralyze them. The other approach is medical management with drugs that affect brain chemistry. These drugs often have serious side effects. Brutal as it may sound, even cutting the nerves or brain surgery to implant an electrical stimulator are options offered when Botox and medications fail.

CD is a symptom resulting from an underlying cause. What is it? Based on my experience of resolving medically diagnosed CD, through correction of jaw mis-alignment, I postulate that the spasms and tilting of the head are symptoms of CMD. It is an attempt by the central nervous system to accommodate for a misalignment of the neck and jaws. There are muscles throughout our body that have the role of maintaining the posture. These slow twitch, ‘core’ muscles are tasked to keep the spine aligned allowing the large, fast twitch muscles to idle. The ‘global mobilizer’ muscles are designed for rapid and powerful contractions to move our body quickly, such as turning the head quickly when you hear screeching tires.

Sterno Cleido Mastoid (SCM) is the long muscle on the side of the neck which is a fast twitch ‘global mobilizer’ muscle. If one is contracted the head moves to the opposite side. If both are contracted, the head moves forward. SCM’s are often to blame in CD that results in the head either being turned to one side or in spasmodic movements.

It is known that jaw alignment DOES affect the head and neck alignment. When the upper cervical vertebrae are misaligned the nervous system tightens the neck muscles as a protective reflex.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with CD, it does not have to be a life sentence nor does it make sense to hope for relief for risky surgical options. It may be relieved by correcting CMD through Physiologic Neuromuscular dentistry treatment.