Cervical dystonia is a condition where the muscles in the neck involuntary contract, causing uncontrollable movement of the head that results in the head twisting side-to-side or forward and backward. People who live with this disorder often experience extreme amounts of pain. There is currently no cure for cervical dystonia; however, research has shown that injecting Botox in the affected muscles can help decrease symptoms of this disorder.
Injecting Botox for cervical dystonia was first studied using a double blinded study in 1986. In this study, 21 patients had subjective and objective improvements in symptoms as well as a significant decrease in pain. This study, along with others, resulted in the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of using Botox in cervical dystonia effective December of 2000.
Neurologists and neurosurgeons usually perform administration of Botox for cervical dystonia. Dose is patient dependent and chosen based on patient pain, head and neck position, and muscle hypertrophy. The dose of Botox is often increased when patients receive further treatments. The average time of relief that patients get from Botox injections is 12 weeks. As with any treatment, there can be side effects; the number one side effect with using Botox in cervical dystonia patients is dysphasia and muscle weakness.
Cervical dystonia is a condition that affects many people. It is estimated that 30 in every 100,000 people in the United States suffer from cervical dystonia. In 2004, hockey superstar Rem Murray’s career put him on the bench permanently with the diagnosis of cervical dystonia. After trying multiple oral muscle relaxants, Murray’s doctor suggested Botox injections. Murray noticed that the pain and stiffness from his cervical dystonia decreased dramatically in 7 days. He now gets Botox injections every 3 months to help with his symptoms, and in 2006, just 2 years later, Murray was able to earn his spot back in the NHL and go on to play in the Stanley cup finals.