Summarized as a movement disorder, cervical dystonia manifests in many ways and in patients of all ages – from birth to adulthood. It is characterized by an uncontrollable movement of muscles, which forces the body or limbs to take abnormal postures or make repeated and spasmodic movements.
It is a condition that can strike a single muscle or entire muscle groups, and it ranges from severe to extremely mild. The most distinct cervical dystonia symptoms include involuntary movement or spasm of the neck, rapid-fire and uncontrolled blinking, difficulty with speech, single leg dragging, and cramping of the foot.
Childhood cervical dystonia tends to strike the hands or feet and then moves to the rest of the body. Adult onset cervical dystonia symptoms seem to occur first in the torso and upper body, progressing slowly to the rest of the limbs, though it can also remain isolated in one region of the body without spreading.
The Cervical Dystonia Symptoms in Infants
Onset of the cervical dystonia symptoms is most frequently due to harm to the brain, or the area specifically known as the basal ganglia. Responsible for muscular contractions, it can be damaged by a brain trauma, oxygen deprivation, infection, stroke, reaction to drugs, or poisoning. It can also be an inherited condition.
Sadly, infants can display cervical dystonia symptoms soon after delivery and it may be due to hypoxia or even brain hemorrhage. Interestingly enough, cervical dystonia symptoms can be equally difficult injuries that are the underlying cause for the issue.
As an example, a baby can suffer from shoulder dystocia (caused when the medical provider pulls a baby too abruptly from the birth canal though the child’s shoulders are stuck against the pelvic bone). The condition may have resulted in damage to the head and neck, and this can have resulted in cervical dystonia.
Babies suffering from brachial plexus injuries may also have cervical dystonia because the medical provider has tugged on the infants arm, shoulder or arm pit during delivery and damaged the nerves there.
Maternal use of specific medications can also cause symptoms of cervical dystonia to develop in the newborn as well.
For patients of any age, though, there is no cure and the symptoms do not fade over time. The condition, as MayoClinic has commented can be “exhausting and disabling”. Thus, it is best to pursue any course of treatment possible.
Currently, patients of all ages are relying a combination of therapeutic treatments meant to strengthen the muscles and reduce the severity of spasms. Medications such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and even more extreme remedies such as “botox”-like pharmaceuticals that paralyze specific nerves or muscles.
Surgical remedies are an option for some people with the symptoms of cervical dystonia and these range from deep brain stimulation (which is considered a very extreme remedy) to the surgical severing of specific nerves or muscles in an attempt to reduce the severity of spasms or muscle contortion.
This condition is difficult at best and it is a good idea to pursue the fullest medical remediation possible. An adult who suffers onset of the condition will want to consider surgical options as their “last resort”. Parents of children who develop it or who are born with it must consider how to overcome the developmental delays it will present. Additionally, if the issue is due to a birth injury, there may be the need to seek legal recourse as well.
Modern medicine makes it easier than ever to enjoy the safest childbirth experiences possible. If your infant has cervical dystonia because of a birth injury, you must get in touch with an attorney about it.