TMJ Dentist Insight: Cervical Dystonia and its Relation to TMJ

To help provide a more in-depth analysis on Cervical dystonia and its relation to TMJ, we’ve outlined this brief article from a TMJ dentist to define what cervical dystonia is, a few of its symptoms, how it can be treated and of course its relation to TMJ disorder. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dr. Patel and the expert team at Shallowford Dental, as we are more than happy to provide you with a consultation.

Ask a TMJ Dentist: What is Cervical Dystonia?

At its core, cervical dystonia is commonly specified as a rare brain disorder which can cause unusual movement or positioning of the head and neck muscles. Cervical dystonia is occasionally referred to as spasmodic torticollis in some cases. Cervical dystonia often protrudes a person’s head movements, meaning any movement of the head causes an unbalanced positioning. Studies have shown that cervical dystonia typically appears in the more middle-aged stages of life and has been known to be more prominent in women than men.

Symptoms of Cervical Dystonia

The most prominent symptoms of cervical dystonia involve particular muscle contractions that cause the head and/or neck to twist in various directions, such as the chin going up, down or toward the shoulder and the ear toward the shoulder.

Out of those twisting motions the chin being pulled toward the shoulder is often the most commonly associated symptom of cervical dystonia. A combination of irregular head postures has also been known to occur, as well as a jerking head motion.

It’s also very common for people with cervical dystonia to experience a sharp neck pain that leads down into their shoulders. Recurring headaches can result from the twisting and in some cases the overall pain caused from cervical dystonia can leave patients feeling exhausted and immobilized.

Treating Cervical Dystonia

Unfortunately there is no known cure for cervical dystonia, but there are a few treatments that can help truncate the pain. In some cases symptoms can disappear without treatment, though recurrence is considered common. Medications such as botulinum toxin (Botox) have been known to help neck muscles affected by cervical dystonia, along with other oral medications that have muscle-relaxation capabilities.

Other solutions include sensory therapies to temporarily any spasms, as well as massages and heat packs. Improving strength and flexibility in the neck through exercise has also been known to help. If symptoms continue to worsen, a doctor might suggest surgery, though this option is for those who are in serious need of medical attention.

Cervical Dystonia’s Relation to TMJ

While it might come as a surprise to some, cervical dystonia has been known to be closely associated with TMJ disorder. Medical professionals believe this to be the case due to the temporomandibular joint being so close to the second cervical vertebra that any trauma or damage to temporomandibular joint will indirectly aggravate cervical dystonia. Although there is still more research to be done, studies have shown patients who have been diagnosed with cervical dystonia more often than not suffer from TMJ disorder as well.

TMJ Dentist Final Thoughts

The direct correlation between cervical dystonia and TMJ disorder can neither be confirmed or denied, yet what we do know is that both conditions have been known to happen concurrently and both can cause insurmountable pain. The good news is that treating TMJ can often help in reducing symptoms and suffering in that of cervical dystonia as well. For anyone who suffers from either one of these conditions, now is the time to contact Dr. Patel and the expert team at Shallowford Dental. Scheduling a consultation has never been easier, as we aim to provide the utmost comfortability with our customers.

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