Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder affecting more than 300,000 people in North America alone. It is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, which force certain parts of the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements or postures. This typically manifests as a no-no tremor, (oscillation of the head side to side, as if nodding no repetitively).
Dystonia can affect any part of the body including the arms and legs, trunk, neck, eyelids, face, or vocal cords. Because muscle contractions interfere with normal function, dystonia causes impairment such as incoordination and problems with balance, (and thus increased risk of fall). As such, those afflicted with the disorder often find themselves unable to perform many of the things they did prior to its inception.
Pain and fatigue from the repetitive movement is not uncommon. Features such as cognition, strength, and the senses, including vision and hearing, are typically normal and left unaffected. As the disorder becomes intolerable, botox injections are typically used to help control the disorder and excess movement. Botox injections are simply isolated botulism toxins, which paralyze the muscles near the injection site for a period of time. As the toxin�s effect wears off over time, the procedure must be repeated.
Recent research demonstrates the tremendous effect chiropractic neurologists can have on cervical dystonia when managed in accordance with brain based neurology. Results using this approach have been described as outstanding and provide hope for dystonic patients looking for non-surgical and non-drug treatment options.
For this reason, it is recommended that patients who have dystonic movements and associated symptomatology be treated in this fashion before other treatments which may be associated with iatrogenesis, (problems induced inadvertently by a medical treatment), are considered. At minimum, a fall risk screen should be performed on anyone suffering with this disorder, due to the increase risk of fall associated with the tremor. Our office offers this service as a community service free of charge.