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Cervical Dystonia / Torticollis


Cervical Dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is characterized by neck muscles contracting involuntarily, causing abnormal movements and awkward posture of the head and neck. The movements may be sustained, jerky (tremor), or a combination. Spasms in the muscles can result in considerable pain and discomfort.

How Upper Cervical Care Relates to Cervical Dystonia / Torticollis

While medical science has not determined the exact cause of cervical dystonia, recent research has pointed towards a likely trauma-induced origin for certain cases of dystonia.1-13 Evidence supports that trauma (in particular mild concussive injury to the head, neck or upper back,) increases the risk of onset of cervical dystonia. Following the trauma, dystonia can be triggered immediately or can take months or years to develop.

The purpose of upper cervical care is to reverse the trauma-induced upper neck injury; thereby reducing irritation to the injured nerves in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). While many dystonia sufferers recall specific traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents or falls, some do not. An evaluation is necessary in each individual's case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.


Case Studies

View Case Studies related to Cervical Dystonia / Torticollis

Research Articles and Publications
  1. Shuper A, Keller A, Arbel N, Inbar D, Steinberg T. Trauma-induced dystonia and camptocormia in a child. Pediatr Neurol. 2007 Mar;36(3):184-5.
  2. Herman MJ. Torticollis in infants and children: common and unusual causes. Instr Course Lect. 2006;55:647-53.
  3. Takemoto M, Ikenaga M, Tanaka C, Sonobe M, Shikata J. Cervical dystonia induced by cervical spine surgery: a case report. Spine. 2006 Jan 1;31(1):E31-4.
  4. Kaeser HE, Ettlin T. Little known sequelae of sprains of the cervical spine. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax. 1999 Dec 2;88(49):2021-4.
  5. Tarsy D. Comparison of acute- and delayed-onset posttraumatic cervical dystonia. Mov Disord. 1998 May;13(3):481-5.
  6. Foley-Nolan D, Kinirons M, Coughlan RJ, O'Connor P. Post whiplash dystonia well controlled by transcutaneous electrical nervous stimulation (TENS): case report. J Trauma. 1990 Jul;30(7):909-10.
  7. Jona JZ. Posterior cervical torticollis caused by birth trauma. J Pediatr Surg. 1995 Oct;30(10):1526-7.
  8. Slate RK, Posnick JC, Armstrong DC, Buncic JR. Cervical spine subluxation associated with congenital muscular torticollis and craniofacial asymmetry. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1993 Jun;91(7):1187-95; discussion 1196-7.
  9. Keller J. Childbirth difficulties & torticollis in the newborn. Union Med Can. 1958 Feb;87(2):179-81.
  10. Tonomura Y, Kataoka H, Sugie K, Hirabayashi H, Nakase H, Ueno S. Atlantoaxial rotatory subluxation associated with cervical dystonia. Spine. 2007 Sep 1;32(19):E561-4.
  11. Frei KP, Pathak M, Jenkins S, Truong DD. Natural history of posttraumatic cervical dystonia. Mov Disord. 2004 Dec;19(12):1492-8.
  12. O'Riordan S, Hutchinson M. Cervical dystonia following peripheral trauma--a case-control study. J Neurol. 2004 Feb;251(2):150-5.
  13. Sa DS, Mailis-Gagnon A, Nicholson K, Lang AE. Posttraumatic painful torticollis. Mov Disord. 2003 Dec;18(12):1482-91.

The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.