(This article follows on from the previous article about cervical dystonia titled, Oh, oh, oh. It grabs me. Just like that! Cervical dystonia is a type of focal dystonia affecting muscles of the neck. Although there are different forms of cervical dystonia, it is all commonly referred to as spasmodic torticollis.)
Okay, with such a stiff neck and shoulders, something is definitely wrong. Initially, presenting to a medical practitioner with symptoms such as these, patients may find their doctor suggests nothing more than a ‘stiff neck’ or ‘wry neck'. Even arthritis may be suggested. Pain ranges from mild to severe, depending on each individual’s experience. Each person may be different with their symptoms of cervical dystonia which can vary considerably. Influences of anxiety and stress can increase the degree of spasms and pain. When neck muscles are overactive, a person’s posture may be greatly affected. In turn this affects other muscles not originally affected by dystonia, with stiffness and pain.
Some people may be affected by only a few symptoms and low level pain. Others may experience chronic pain and elevated levels of disability. It is not uncommon for suffers of cervical dystonia to experience less symptoms early in the day but increase to more severe symptoms as their day progresses. This can be very tiring.
People with cervical dystonia can become very distressed if they do not receive a clear diagnosis. Medical practitioners may be unable to confirm a diagnosis when a person’s signs and symptoms of cervical dystonia present intermittently. However, the next step is diagnosis. This will be the topic of the following article.
A really good Australian site for further information on cervical dystonia is http://www.asta.asn.au/ or search for a cervical dystonia or spasmodic torticollis site nearer to you. www.dystoniaaustralia.org.au is another good site.