The best treatment for cervical dystonia depends on the person and the severity of their case. There is no cure for cervical dystonia but there are several treatments that a patient can try to see which one works best for them. Some treatments have shown to be effective in some patients while they are unsuccessful in others.
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Types of Treatments for Cervical Dystonia
It may be in your best interest to discuss any treatments for cervical dystonia with your doctor before you try them. Treatment and management plans for cervical dystonia vary by cost and effectiveness. Some treatments also come with risky side effects. Your child’s case may not even warrant a particular treatment or management plan. In fact, a particular treatment could cause more harm than good.
Physical therapy may be the least expensive of the treatments that can provide temporary relief for patients suffering from cervical dystonia. A physical therapist can use muscle relaxing techniques and exercises to help reduce muscle spasms and alleviate pain. During your sessions, a therapist may also determine certain movements that may trigger spasms, especially with the use of biofeedback. You may be given some simple exercises you can do at home also.
A therapist may also suggest a few tricks that can help relieve symptoms in your day-to-day activities. This includes sensory methods. Some patients find touching the opposite side of the face can cease spasms when they happen. Hot compresses on the neck can help too.
In relation to physical therapy, there is also massage therapy. Having a massage therapist target the neck and shoulder area can temporarily reduce muscle spasms and relieve pain.
Medication is another viable option to help aid the effects of cervical dystonia in individuals. Common medications can include trihexyphenidyl, clonazepam, baclofen, and carbamazepine. Botulinum toxin is a popular choice amongst patients with the condition. In fact, about 70% of people living with cervical dystonia who use botulinum toxin injections have a reduction of painful spasms which lasts approximately one to four months. It may be more of a relief than most treatments because the effectiveness of the injection can last a few months at a time; however, you still may need to get an injection about four or five times a year.
Be mindful that medications often come with side effects, allergic reactions may take place, and they could be dangerous with other medications. So, be sure to discuss all medications with your doctor before having your child take it.
Lastly, there are invasive procedures that have helped but they are not highly recommended. They can be risky, and they are often the last resort if nothing else seems to be working. You may have the option of cutting the nerves that are causing the muscles to involuntarily contract. Another option is implanting small electrodes to the base of the brain, known as deep brain stimulation. These electrodes will send little electric shocks to the nerves to control the muscle spasms.
Stress is known to worsen symptoms of cervical dystonia; therefore, incorporating management plans to reduce stress levels may help. Meditation, support groups, counseling, etc. are just a few ways you can help manage stress.
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The Effects of Living with Cervical Dystonia
For many, cervical dystonia is a life-long diagnosis. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), about 10% of people who have cervical dystonia will have a moment of remission but, unfortunately for some, it will come back. Young children with mild cases have the best odds of overcoming cervical dystonia.
Living with cervical dystonia can be disabling, especially as time goes on. Symptoms may start off mild but may gradually intensify year after year. Signs and symptoms often peak and remain steady after five years. By then, the condition is more noticeable and immobilizing.
Cervical dystonia can limit people from performing certain tasks. Not just because of the physical disability but the chronic pain and discomfort the symptoms bring about. When it comes to children, there may be developmental delays because of the problem. Additionally, the condition can wreak havoc on a child’s emotional and mental state. Social issues, depression, and anxiety are a few problems that can develop.
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There is no best treatment for cervical dystonia because there is nothing that will treat the condition. There are only medications or treatments you can do to help manage it. Cervical dystonia may have been acquired from an injury at birth. If this is the case, you may be eligible to receive compensation.
Have an attorney review your case and discuss your next steps forward. Call a legal member at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today to setup your free consultation at (800) 222-9529.