Cervical Dystonia Versus Fibromyalgia

 Similarities Between Cervical Dystonia and Fibromyalgia

There are several different symptoms that can go along with fibromyalgia. So much so, that this is why those who suffer with fibromyalgia are often expediting issues for years until they are rightfully diagnosed by their doctor.

This is due to the fact that fibromyalgia often has symptoms that mimics many other major illnesses. It can be a long and difficult road to be truly diagnosed with fibromyalgia to the point in which they start treating the various issues associated with this illness.

What is Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical dystonia is also known as spasmodic torticollis. This condition is categorized mostly by pain. However, this pain is centralized in the neck and head.

With this condition a person will find that their neck muscles are going to involuntarily contract. Due to these contractions, a person may find that their head twists to one side. It can also cause a person’s head to tilt forward or backward.

This condition is considered rather rare, though it can affect a person at any age. However, it is most prominent in women who are middle aged.

Those who have this often have symptoms appear slowly, but as the condition progresses, the symptoms become worse.

What are the Causes and Risks Associated with Cervical Dystonia?

The real cause of this condition is unknown. However, it has been found that those who do have this condition often have a family history of this condition, so it is believed that there may be a slight genetic component with this illness.

In addition, those who have injuries to their head, neck or shoulder may have this illness appear as they age.

The risk factors for this condition include:

  • Age: While it can happen to anyone, it has been found that this normally appears after the age of 30 years old.
  • Sex: Women are more likely than men to get this, though there have been men who have been diagnosed with this.
  • Family History: Those who have a family member with this, are at a higher chance of having this themselves.

It should be noted that those who do develop this condition often have other complications from having this. These complications are often affecting nearby areas of the body.

For example, the face, abdomen, jaw and arms of the person. In addition, those who have this are at a greater chance of develop bonus spurs that could affect their spinal canal.

This can cause tingling, numbness and weakness in various areas of the body including legs, feet, hands and arms.

The Similarities Between Cervical Dystonia and Fibromyalgia

There are several links between cervical dystonia and fibromyalgia. So much so, that many doctors are finding that there is a significant number of patients who have both disorders.

This does showcase why it is so common for the two illnesses to be interchanged when it comes to the diagnosis of a patient. So, what are the similarities between these two illnesses?

  1. More women are affected than men. In fact, a recent study provided by the FDA concludes that 95.45% of those affected by both illnesses are women.
  2. The age of people who are affected by both illnesses range from the late 20 years of age up to those who are sixty plus with both illnesses.
  3. Many of the symptoms associated with these illnesses are the same. These symptoms include depression, sedation, neuropathy peripheral, muscle spasms and diarrhea.
  4. The top symptoms that warrant visits to the doctor are the same with both illnesses. These symptoms include pain, weakness, tardive dyskinesia, and fatigue.

Treating Fibromyalgia and Cervical Dystonia

Due to the nature of these illnesses being very similar, the treatment is almost identical. IN most cases, a person is prescribed several medications to help with the symptoms that they are having. These medications may include:

  • Lyrica
  • Vicodin
  • Savella
  • Cymbalta
  • Reglan

The idea with the medications is to help with depression, the muscle fatigue in which the person feels, the weakness that they may be experiencing and even restlessness at night that may cause them to have an unproductive sleep.

Other treatment options that people are given include:

  • Massage to help with painful muscles
  • Rehabilitation to help with building up these muscles
  • Told to get more rest
  • Exercise more regularly and to perform exercises that are low impact on the body

Are the Two Illnesses Connected?

What most fibromyalgia sufferers want to know is whether they also have cervical dystonia. Those who have cervical dystonia also want to know if they suffer from fibromyalgia as well.

The answer to this is not a simple yes or no. Why is this? Because not everyone who has fibromyalgia will have cervical dystonia as well, and vice versa.

However, it should be noted that studies are showcasing these two illnesses are more prominent in those who suffer with one.

Therefore, those who have fibromyalgia are more likely to experience the symptoms of cervical dystonia, and those who have cervical dystonia may develop fibromyalgia.

This is compared to someone who has neither illness running in their families or suffer with these themselves.

While these two illnesses are very similar, it is vital that your doctor determine if you are affected by just one or both illnesses. Finding the right treatment plan all depends upon what is being treated.

However, for the most part, since treatment is so similar, those who suffer with one or both often find that they can live a fulfilling life.

If you believe that you have either illness, it is important to talk with your physician. While neither illness has a cure yet, there are medications and changes you can make in your lifestyle that will help you to deal with these illnesses on a day to day basis.

While many people look at these illnesses as something that is going to affect your entire life, you can greatly decrease the total effect through proper diet, exercise and finding the right combination of medications.

6 Comments

  • I have suffered from cervical dystonia for 20 yrs. I’m in my early 70’s now and for about 3 yrs. I have been receiving injections of Botox in my neck and shoulder muscles: unfortunately I can’t tolerate the deep injection that I need to get relief because it interferes with my swallowing so, I at least get some relief from the muscle spasms in my shoulders.

    • Bless you hun..
      I have a feeling I may have this too. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia but I also suffer from severe head pain and my head and hands shake alot and I feel like I’m clenching my jaw all the time.
      Do you suffer from any of these symptoms xx

  • I received botox injections until they were no longer covered by insurance. Dystonia is still there, no other plan for pain. Was recently diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia.

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