Spasmodic torticollis, or cervical dystonia, is a rare neurological disorder which causes the head to tilt, turn or twist with involuntary muscle contractions. The head can be pulled in different directions and positions, the most common being when the chin extends toward the shoulder. It is usually painful, can cause headaches and may limit daily life. The disorder has no known cure, but treatments using botulinum toxin injections can lessen the symptoms. Oral medication, deep brain stimulation, and surgery are other options.
Onset usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 70 years, with a higher rate amongst women, and has a genetic component. The cause of spasmodic torticollis is unknown, however a tie to injury or trauma and the use of certain medications has been found.
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The Movement Disorders Center of Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute improves lives by providing treatments for a wide range of neurological movement disorders and diseases.