Dystonia Specialist Fort Thomas KY

Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder, next to Parkinson’s disease and Tremor, affecting at least 300,000 people in North America. It is a neurological condition that results in sustained and involuntary contractions of opposing muscles, which leads to spasmodic movements, twisting, and abnormal stances.

Jerry W Conners, MD
(859) 781-2700
40 Grand Ave Ste 200
Fort Thomas, KY
Specialties
Ophthalmology, Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Louisville Sch Of Med, Louisville Ky 40202
Graduation Year: 1969
Hospital
Hospital: St Elizabeth Med Ctr-South, Edgewood, Ky; St Luke Hosp -West, Florence, Ky; St Luke Hosp -East, Fort Thomas, Ky

Data Provided by:
Charles Victor Abler, DO
(513) 735-0513
655 Eden Park Dr Ste 740
Cincinnati, OH
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Nova Se Univ, Coll Of Osteo Med, Ft Lauderdale Fl 33328
Graduation Year: 1990
Hospital
Hospital: Clermont Mercy Hosp, Batavia, Oh; Mercy Hospital-Anderson, Cincinnati, Oh

Data Provided by:
Joseph Anselm Nicolas, MD
(513) 475-8730
222 Piedmont Ave Ste 3200
Cincinnati, OH
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Cincinnati Coll Of Med, Cincinnati Oh 45267
Graduation Year: 1989

Data Provided by:
Zainab P Contractor
(513) 241-2370
111 Wellington Pl
Cincinnati, OH
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Brett Mancos Kissela, MD
(513) 475-8730
Univ Cin Neuro Dept
Cincinnati, OH
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Washington Univ Sch Of Med, St Louis Mo 63110
Graduation Year: 1995

Data Provided by:
Robert Love McLaurin, MD
(513) 369-2498
4th and Vine Sts
Cincinnati, OH
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Harvard Med Sch, Boston Ma 02115
Graduation Year: 1944

Data Provided by:
Shannon Kohake
(513) 584-1000
234 Goodman St
Cincinnati, OH
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Matthew Leonard Flaherty, MD
2B1 Albert Sabin Way Ste 4305
Cincinnati, OH
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ks Sch Of Med, Kansas City Ks 66103
Graduation Year: 1999

Data Provided by:
Fredy Jesus Revilla, MD
(314) 652-2573
Cincinnati, OH
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Prog Acad De Med, Lima, Peru
Graduation Year: 1993

Data Provided by:
George Timothy Mandybur, MD
(601) 984-5700
PO Box 670515/Neurosurgery,
Cincinnati, OH
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Cincinnati Coll Of Med, Cincinnati Oh 45267
Graduation Year: 1990
Hospital
Hospital: Univ Of Mississippi Med Ctr, Jackson, Ms; Veterans Affairs Med Ctr, Jackson, Ms
Group Practice: University Clinic Associates; University Neurosurgeons Pllc

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Life with Dystonia

Provided by: 

By Ellen L. Weisberg, PhD

Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder, next to Parkinson’s disease and Tremor, affecting at least 300,000 people in North America. It is a neurological condition that results in sustained and involuntary contractions of opposing muscles, which leads to spasmodic movements, twisting, and abnormal stances. Like Parkinson’s disease, dystonia is believed to be due to an abnormality in the basal ganglia of the brain, where movement is controlled.

The symptoms of dystonia first surfaced when I was in the middle of a radio shift, getting ready to record what I thought would be another effortless 30-second broadcast in a string of reports. Halfway through it, the left side of my mouth started twisting inward, making it difficult for me to talk. At the time, I remember wondering if there was something with my delivery style that had- over time- become subtly different… Was my chair too high or too low and I was straining my neck to get to the microphone? Did it have to do with the amount of gesturing I was doing with my hands when I talked?

As time went on, though, the difficulties I was having with my broadcasting increased, and getting the job done comfortably and in a timely fashion was becoming more and more of a struggle. My coworkers thought that maybe I was having sudden “stage fright,” or that it was simply stress that was causing this, since my conversational speech away from the microphone seemed normal. It was only when I saw a neurologist that the situation became clearer: I was diagnosed with a “focal dystonia,” which targets a specific part of the body and usually afflicts people at mid-life. My condition, “task- specific oromandibular dystonia,” causes the jaw to either be clamped shut or held open and is brought on at least in part by repetitive movements. I had been doing two and a half years of daily broadcasting for hours on end, repeating similar phrases and articulating in a way that was different from my regular, away-from-the-microphone speech. I tried to return to broadcasting several times when the symptoms of the dystonia had temporarily quieted down, only to have to quit again when the condition would relapse. The symptoms eventually slipped over into my conversational speech, and there were times they were so debilitating that I thought I’d never be able to hold a normal conversation again.

I had consulted a second neurologist who prescribed Artane, an anticholinergic agent that improves muscle control in Parkinson’s patients. After a brief honeymoon, “fool’s gold”-kind of experience with the drug that lasted only a few days during which my speech seemed more effortless, the Artane lost its effects. My neurologist also tried administering Botox injections on the side of my mouth where muscles were twisting in such a way as to make speaking difficult. However, it was shortly after the injections that the condition relapsed to the point where I could barely talk at all. Continuing...

Author: Ellen L. Weisberg, PhD

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