Cervical Dystonia in Adults

What Is Cervical Dystonia?

Cervical Dystonia

Affecting the neck

Uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle spasms caused by incorrect signals from the brain


  • Head and neck turning, tilting, or jerking
  • Head and neck shaking (spasms)
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Neck and shoulder stiffness

Possible Muscles Involved

Possible muscles involved in cervical dystonia.
Possible muscles involved in cervical dystonia.

4 Common Types of Head Movement1

Head tilts forward

Head tilts backward

Head turns to the side
(rotational torticollis)

Head tilts to the side


  1. Jankovic J. Treatment of cervical dystonia. In: Brin MF, Comella CL, Jankovic J, eds. Dystonia: Etiology, Clinical Features, and Treatment. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004:159-166.