Dystonia Specialist Laramie WY

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.

Thomas Anthony Kopitnik, MD
(307) 266-4000
1026 E 2nd St
Casper, WY
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Languages
Spanish
Education
Medical School: Wv Univ Sch Of Med, Morgantown Wv 26506
Graduation Year: 1984

Data Provided by:
Malvin Cole, MD
(307) 234-5004
Casper, WY
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Georgetown Univ Sch Of Med, Washington Dc 20007
Graduation Year: 1957

Data Provided by:
Steven Joseph Beer, MD
(307) 778-2860
1950 Bluegrass Cir Ste 170
Cheyenne, WY
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ia Coll Of Med, Iowa City Ia 52242
Graduation Year: 1992

Data Provided by:
Reed Clifton Shafer
(307) 634-1311
5050 Powderhouse Rd
Cheyenne, WY
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Dr.MARY KERBER
(307) 634-1311
5050 Powderhouse Road
Cheyenne, WY
Gender
F
Speciality
Neurologist
General Information
Accepting New Patients: Yes
RateMD Rating
5.0, out of 5 based on 1, reviews.

Data Provided by:
Dr.Joseph Sramek
(307) 265-8300
419 South Washington Street #202
Casper, WY
Gender
M
Education
Medical School: Rush Med Coll Of Rush Univ
Year of Graduation: 1994
Speciality
Neurosurgeon
General Information
Accepting New Patients: Yes
RateMD Rating
5.0, out of 5 based on 1, reviews.

Data Provided by:
John Joseph Viola, MD FACS
(970) 493-1292
536 Gramercy Dr
Cheyenne, WY
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Jefferson
Graduation Year: 1989

Data Provided by:
Kurt James Hopfensperger, MD
(307) 634-1311
5050 Powderhouse Rd
Cheyenne, WY
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Il Coll Of Med, Chicago Il 60680
Graduation Year: 1988

Data Provided by:
Thomas Otto Mayer, MD
1416 W 5th St
Sheridan, WY
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: In Univ Sch Of Med, Indianapolis In 46202
Graduation Year: 1998

Data Provided by:
Peter Oliver Crane, MD
(307) 332-5886
295 Garfield St
Lander, WY
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Wa Sch Of Med, Seattle Wa 98195
Graduation Year: 1972

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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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