Sara called our office looking for a specialist in cervical dystonia, also referred to as spasmodic torticollis, a chronic painful condition of involuntary neck muscle contraction which causes the head to twist to one side. She had been diagnosed by two neurologists who gave her the options of Botox injections every 3 to 4 months for the rest of her life to paralyze the neck muscles; a deep brain stimulation procedure; or selective surgical denervation of the nerves triggering the muscle contractions. Her chief complaints were neck pain, migraines, chronic headaches, jaw pain and clicking, grinding clenching and pain while chewing. Her pain radiated through the right side of her face down through her shoulders and upper back. She had been treated by a chiropractor for 4 months with little results.
Sara received in a lower removable orthotic to allow the joints to reposition and decompress, along with a series of TruDenta dentomandibular sensorimotor dysfunction rehabilitation sessions. All symptoms resolved within a four week period, and she now maintains with just wearing the orthotic at night.
About, almost two years ago, I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder… called cervical dystonia. I noticed it about two years ago, and at first it was… I noticed it at work. I was a waitress, and I remember trying to set a table and I couldn’t look down… and I just thought it was a muscle spasm, like in my neck, so I ignored it. That was in September of 2013. For about, I’d say, five months I worked like that. Around, I think, it was February 2014 I noticed it started to progressively get worse. I remember in February I was, um, putting food on a plate and I spilled the food everywhere. I couldn’t really look down and I was like, “what is happening?” So that’s when I started to get a little worried.
Around May of last year, that’s when I stopped working, and I went to see a neurologist at Mount Sinai and she diagnosed me with cervical dystonia. So I went to get a second opinion with Dr. Steven Frucht. He’s also from Mount Sinai. And he confirmed it. He said it was cervical dystonia, and that I would have to have Botox injections for the rest of my life, or deep brain stimulation surgery, or denervation of the nerves.
When I’m active it… I lose control of it. So, if I’m sitting down I’m okay.
[Sara then demonstrated how her head gets stuck turning to the side as she walks down the hallway.]
So, once you stop, now what do you do to…
I have to adjust it with my hands.
And you’re directly opposing those tight muscles that have tightened up?
And I have to breathe… and then just relax.
And if you don’t do that you just stay over to the right?
And it gets tighter and tighter?
And then it starts to hurt.
It turns every time?
After Sara’s Second TruDenta® Therapy
Since my last visit, um, I’ve been maintaining my balance. I noticed that I can do a lot more things now. The only challenge that I seem to be facing right now is, um, when I have to do activities looking down, like washing dishes or like if I’m at the supermarket and I’m packing groceries, that’s when I notice it turns.
When your head is down?
Yeah. Other than that, when I’m looking up and I’m walking, I’m able to maintain it… the posture. I have my life back! I can’t tell you… I’ve been living with this for so long that I forgot what it feels like to be able to walk normally.
Before Sara’s Fourth Therapy
[Sara walks down the hall with a straight and relaxed posture and smiles.]
At week 7, Sara’s treatment was postponed due to her preganancy. This is Sara Seven Months After Trudenta® Treatment Was Stopped.
So I started with the appliance and within, I’d say, three days I felt a difference. Like, a huge difference. And then I’d say like, two… two weeks is when I really noticed a huge difference, where I didn’t have to hold my neck anymore, my face. I still had the… you know, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot easier. The pain was extremely… it was so much better! I’d say by the fall, it’s just been improving ever since then. I ended up going back to work, which I wasn’t able to do for over a year… which was awesome!
It really lifted my spirits too, you know? You guys are awesome. I can’t thank you enough cause you gave me my life back.