Infant Cervical Dystonia

What Increases the Risks?

While doctors don’t have a clear answer for what causes infant cervical dystonia, medical researchers have linked neonatal brain hemorrhaging and hypoxia to this condition. In fact, shoulder dystocia can happen when the child’s shoulder gets caught on the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. Should the child get lodged for too long, it can lead to hypoxia, leading to baby cervical dystonia. This can also happen if the doctor tries to pull the child out too quickly and causes injuries to the child’s neck and head.

Medical research has also linked this birth disorder with brachial plexus injuries. The brachial plexus is the network of nerves in the arms, shoulders, and armpits.

The Signs of This Condition

There are a few signs that indicate your child suffers from this condition. For example, you might notice a jerking head motion. The child might also pull their head either straight up, down, or towards their shoulder. In some cases, the child might experience headaches or fatigue from this injury.

In most cases, the child will experience pain on a level anywhere from mild to severe, depending on the circumstances. The pain could spread throughout the body, and there are situations where long-term health complications can occur.

How Do They Treat This Condition?

Doctors haven’t come up with a cure for infant cervical dystonia, but many treatment options can help children live better lives with less pain. The treatment will usually be tailored to what works for the child. For example, the doctor might recommend a neck brace or therapy that eases the pain through strength training exercises. They might also prescribe flexibility techniques and strategies for managing stress. In some cases, the doctor might also do what is known as deep brain stimulation. For this, they place a wire on the brain and use it to stimulate the part of the brain most known for movement.

Unfortunately, many infants that receive a diagnosis for cervical dystonia will face serious developmental delays even after they have undergone physical therapy and other treatment. The severity of the delay will depend on the seriousness of the disorder. You don’t have to worry too much that this condition will develop into cerebral palsy because it doesn’t affect the brain. However, if your child does suffer from infant cervical dystonia, you may be eligible for financial support. It’s important to discuss your options with a professional to determine if this is the case.

Editor

Rae S, Editor

View Profile

Expert

kaitlinmorris

View Profile