Monday, February 12, 2007

Is cervical dystonia caused by stress?

The answer to this frequently asked question is answered by the Australian Spasmodic Torticollis Association (ASTA) as follows.

There is no evidence that cervical dystonia is caused by stress although just as with many movement disorders the symptoms are often made worse when the patient is under stress.

So what does cause cervical dystonia (CD)?

The ASTA further states,

The cause of CD is unknown but it is widely accepted that the area of the brain known as the basal ganglia is implicated in the condition.

The basal ganglia is in the inner grey matter of the brain and acts somewhat like a computer as it sorts messages from the brain and directs the action of nerves and muscles using chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.

There is thought to be an imbalance in these neurotransmitters in patients with CD.

At present research is being done on hereditary factors of the condition.

Certain types of dystonia are known to have a genetic basis, in particular generalized dystonia in children but there has been recent interest in genetic factors in the focal dystonias of which CD is one.

As many of us know from our own experiences, symptoms of CD and also other forms of dystonia may intensify significantly when we are experiencing elevated levels of stress. Therefore, applying behavioral strategies in stressful experiences may well assist us to manage our dystonia.

When things do not go as we hope in our day to day lives it does not help to think it is our entire fault. One Stress Management Team says,

Blame is a senseless action. You are the master of your own destiny, you can achieve whatever you desire and the only force that stands in your way is your own fear. So utilize your power to decide and do it.

The stress management team also offers effective ways to manage stress by discussing,
- Definition of stress.
- Causes of stress.
- The consequences of stress.

The three highlighted links above lead to more interesting information relating to this article. I hope they are useful to you. You are welcome to leave a comment or contact me by email: s.j.bayliss@bigpond.com.au - I will get back to you.

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.

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