Dystonia Specialist Prattville AL

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.

Benjamin Conrad Wouters, MD
(334) 834-1300
Prattville, AL
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Vanderbilt Univ Sch Of Med, Nashville Tn 37232
Graduation Year: 1987

Data Provided by:
John Edward Hackman, MD
(334) 834-1663
1722 Pine St Ste 1001
Montgomery, AL
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ky Coll Of Med, Lexington Ky 40536
Graduation Year: 1970
Hospital
Hospital: Jackson Hosp & Clinic, Montgomery, Al; Baptist Med Ctr, Montgomery, Al

Data Provided by:
Paul Caudill Miller, MD
(334) 834-1300
1722 Pine St Ste 700
Montgomery, AL
Specialties
Neurology, Emergency Medicine
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Al Sch Of Med, Birmingham Al 35294
Graduation Year: 1984
Hospital
Hospital: Jackson Hosp & Clinic, Montgomery, Al
Group Practice: Neurology Consultants

Data Provided by:
Hamp Hunter Greene
(334) 281-7280
2010 Normandie Dr
Montgomery, AL
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Joey Roque C Boiser, MD
(334) 281-7280
2010 Normandie Dr
Montgomery, AL
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of The Philippines, Coll Of Med, Manila, Philippines
Graduation Year: 1992

Data Provided by:
Larry W Epperson
(334) 834-1300
1722 Pine St
Montgomery, AL
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Dr.Pamela Pacquiao
(334) 281-7280
2000 Normandie Drive
Montgomery, AL
Gender
F
Speciality
Neurologist
General Information
Accepting New Patients: Yes
RateMD Rating
5.0, out of 5 based on 1, reviews.

Data Provided by:
Joey C Boiser
(334) 281-7280
2010 Normandie Dr
Montgomery, AL
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Patrick Gerard Ryan, MD
(334) 834-6422
1510 Forest Ave
Montgomery, AL
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: La State Univ Sch Of Med In New Orleans, New Orleans La 70112
Graduation Year: 1982
Hospital
Hospital: Baptist Med Ctr East, Montgomery, Al; Jackson Hosp & Clinic, Montgomery, Al
Group Practice: Montgomery Neurosurgical Assoc

Data Provided by:
Stephen Ray Bryan, MD
(334) 281-7280
2010 Normandie Dr
Montgomery, AL
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ut Sch Of Med, Salt Lake Cty Ut 84132
Graduation Year: 1971
Hospital
Hospital: Jackson Hosp & Clinic, Montgomery, Al; Baptist Med Ctr, Montgomery, Al
Group Practice: Alabama Neurological Clinic

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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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