Cervical Dystonia

cervical dystoniaI think my case is unique insofar that my condition is almost cured against all odds of Western medicine – KA

Dystonia disrupts the nervous system’s ability to allow the brain and muscles to communicate. How the body controls muscle movement is very complicated and involves many areas of the brain.

The areas of the brain believed to be most affected by dystonia are called the basal ganglia.

The basal ganglia check the speed of movement and control unwanted movements. They are responsible for sending signals to muscles, instructing them when to move, and when to stop moving. For reasons not yet fully understand, in dystonia, the basal ganglia’s instructions to muscles become irregular and chaotic, resulting in unwanted muscle movements and contractions (see video example) ■

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The extrapyramidal system

extrapyramidal systemThe extrapyramidal system is a complex motor system that lies parallel to the pyramidal system.

The pyramidal system forms the networks that extend from your brain to your muscles, which control voluntary, organised movement. The extrapyramidal system lies parallel to this and controls, stance, locomotion and balance.

The extrapyramidal system effectively stabilises you, allowing you to perform tasks you’re choosing to do without having to think about not falling over. It allows for postural adjustments and fine tunes small muscles in your spine and limbs.

People who experience tics, Parkison’s disease, tremor or dystonia (involuntary muscle movements) have a problem with the extrapyramidal system.

The extrapyramidal system extends from the brain (cerebral cortex) through the basal ganglia, to the brainstem, and onto the spinal cord and small muscles. The basal ganglia between the brain and brainstem serve as a “gate” between rest and postural control. Too many or too few messages passing through this gate cause a fault in the postural software. As a result, movement errors occur, such as tremor, tics or shaking.


de Oliveira-Souza, R. The human extrapyramidal system. Medical Hypotheses. 2012. 79: 843-852.

Blood, AJ., et al. Evidence for altered basal ganglia-brainstem connections in cervical dystonia. 2012. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31654.

Integrated Neurological Rehab Foundation

INRFRecently Dr Neil had the privilege of speaking at the Integrated Neurological Rehabilitation Foundation on motor control and chiropractic.

We got to see first hand the amazing work this team is doing for people with neurological motor disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, head injuries and cerebral palsy.

Brain and motor injuries are devastating to a person and have an enormous impact on families. Individualised care, beyond medication only, is paramount in supporting them and improving their brain function and quality of life.

Spinewave supports people with motor disorders and can highly recommend the INRF. If you have family members afflicted with a neurological condition, call Lisa Roach: 09 836 6830


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