Dystonia Specialist Searcy AR

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.

Bob Wayne Smith, MD
(501) 279-1422
PO Box 197
Searcy, AR
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ar Coll Of Med, Little Rock Ar 72205
Graduation Year: 1966

Data Provided by:
Peggy J Brown
(501) 278-5610
609 Marion St
Searcy, AR
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Tonya L Phillips
(479) 452-2077
6801 Rogers Ave
Fort Smith, AR
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Larry G Armstrong, DO
(479) 484-4630
7001 Rogers Ave
Fort Smith, AR
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of N Tx Hlth Sci Ctr, Tx Coll Osteo Med, Ft Worth Tx 76107
Graduation Year: 1994

Data Provided by:
Wayne Wei-ku Lai
(870) 793-5200
1699 Harrison St Ste D
Batesville, AR
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Peggy Jeane Brown, MD
(501) 278-5610
609 Marion St
Searcy, AR
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Finch U Of Hs/Chicago Med Sch, North Chicago Il 60664
Graduation Year: 1985
Hospital
Hospital: Central Arkansas Hosp, Searcy, Ar; White County Mem Hosp, Searcy, Ar; Arkansas Methodist Hosp, Paragould, Ar
Group Practice: White County Neurology Clinic

Data Provided by:
Door Shang Chan, MD
(501) 305-4577
1120 S Main St
Searcy, AR
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Alberta, Fac Of Med, Edmonton, Alb, Canada
Graduation Year: 1990

Data Provided by:
Rodney Terrill Routsong
(479) 521-0900
1706 E Joyce Blvd
Fayetteville, AR
Specialty
Neurosurgery

Data Provided by:
Thomas G Pait
(501) 686-8000
4301 W Markham St # 783
Little Rock, AR
Specialty
Neurosurgery

Data Provided by:
Sarkis Marcel Nazarian, MD
Little Rock, AR
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Il Coll Of Med, Chicago Il 60680
Graduation Year: 1980

Data Provided by:
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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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