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Cervical Dystonia Diagnosis and Treatment

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions and spasms. There are many different types of dystonia, each with its symptoms. 

Cervical dystonia is a type of dystonia in which the neck muscles are affected. Symptoms may include difficulty turning your head, neck pain, and headaches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is vital to see a doctor to diagnose and treat cervical dystonia

Although the cause of this condition is unknown, you can find cures for cervical dystonia. There are several treatment options for cervical dystonia, and most people find relief from the treatment.

This article will cover some of the most common treatments for neck dystonia. We will also explain how to diagnose cervical dystonia. We provide tips on how to manage this condition.

2 Forms of Cervical Dystonia

Cervical dystonia is divided into Caput Form (Torticaput) and Collis Form. Both forms involve neck movements, but they have different symptoms. Are you experiencing neck movements? Then it is very important to determine what form of dystonia you have. Let’s break down what each type looks like:

Caput Form (Torticaput)

Caput, or torticaput, is a congenital condition characterized by a short, curved neck. Several other deformities, including scoliosis, shortened ribs, and displaced vertebrae, can accompany this condition.

The Caput form is relatively rare, occurring in about 1 in 30,000 newborns. The exact cause of this condition is unknown. Doctors believe it results from improper development of the fetus during childbirth. 

Treatment for neck caput dystonia usually involves surgery to correct the deformity. In severe cases, you may require the fusion of the entire spine for stability. With proper cervical dystonia therapy, most patients with the caput form can lead everyday, productive lives.

Collis Form

Collis dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is a disorder that causes involuntary contractions of the muscles in the neck and shoulders. The muscle spasms can cause the head to turn or twitch to one side. 

Collis dystonia is a rare disorder. There is a reason why you may be experiencing this disorder. You may have a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.  

There are no medications for Collis cervical dystonia, but several treatment options can help manage the symptoms. These usually include botulinum toxin injections to relax the affected muscles. In some cases, you may need surgery to release the cramped muscles. 

Most people with Collis dystonia can lead relatively everyday lives with proper treatment.

Diagnosis of Cervical Dystonia

If you think you may have cervical dystonia, it is vital to seek medical help right away. If you go to a medical centre in time, you will get the proper treatment and avoid surgery for cervical dystonia.

The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms. The doctor may also order an MRI or CT scan. That way, they can look for signs of a neck sprain or neurological problem. These cause neck spasms. 

You may also need other tests, such as blood or urine tests or electromyography (EMG). These tests will help determine if any underlying neurological problems may be causing your neck dystonia. Once the diagnosis is made, you can treat cervical dystonia.

Cervical Dystonia Treatment

After a diagnosis of cervical dystonia, the doctor can recommend appropriate treatment options. Several medications are available to treat cervical dystonia, including muscle relaxants, antispasmodics, and anticonvulsants. But there are other treatment options as well. Let’s take a closer look at all the therapy options for cervical dystonia:

cervical dystonia treatment


There are several medications available to treat cervical dystonia. Muscle relaxants and antispasmodics can reduce neck pain, spasms, and abnormal neck movements. Anticonvulsants may also be helpful for people with neck dystonia who experience seizures.


Physical therapy is another effective therapy option for cervical dystonia. The physical therapist can work on stretching and strengthening the neck muscles. This way, they will relieve pain and improve mobility. He may also recommend exercises to maintain good posture. Then you will prevent overstretching of your neck in the future.

Surgery and Other Procedures

In some cases of severe cervical dystonia, surgery may be necessary. You may need surgery to release spastic muscles or stabilize your spine. Your doctor will determine if you need surgery or not.

Exercises for Cervical Dystonia

Exercise for cervical dystonia can help manage symptoms and reduce neck pain. Gentle neck stretches, shoulder rotations, and neck rotations can help keep your neck muscles flexible and maintain a healthy posture.

When Should You Visit a Doctor

Are you experiencing neck pain or abnormal neck movements that won’t go away? Then we recommend that you see a doctor immediately. A doctor will help diagnose cervical dystonia and recommend the best treatment options. It is vital to seek medical help immediately. This way, you get the proper treatment and avoid complications.  

What to Expect from Your Doctor

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms. They may also schedule an MRI or CT scan. Depending on the results, you may need other tests, such as electromyography (EMG). Treatment usually includes medication, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. With the correct diagnosis and treatment plan, most people with neck dystonia can lead relatively everyday lives.

Bottom Line 

Cervical dystonia is a disease of the neck. It causes neck pain and abnormal neck movements. Early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to control symptoms. Then you can maintain neck health. Your doctor can help diagnose and recommend the best cure for cervical dystonia. Contact us for more information about cervical dystonia diagnosis and treatment options. We look forward to helping you find relief from neck pain and abnormal neck movements.


  • What triggers cervical dystonia?

Cervical dystonia can be triggered by neck injury or stress. But it may also occur without any known cause.

  • What doctor treats cervical dystonia?

A neurologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of neck dystonia. They can provide the best advice for treating neck pain and abnormal neck movements.

  • What aggravates cervical dystonia?

Stress, fatigue, and neck injury can worsen symptoms of neck dystonia. It is vital to recognize the triggers and manage them.

  • Can a chiropractor help with cervical dystonia?

A chiropractor can help relieve neck pain and improve neck mobility. But, it is critical to consult a neurologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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