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Susan Jager

“I sent this email out to everybody in my Spasmodic Torticollis group and posted on the website. I can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing for me…

I wanted to give you an update on what’s been happening with my spasmodic torticollis (also called cervical dystonia). It all started 10 years ago with a stiff neck and progress into uncontrolled neck spasms. Since being diagnosed with spasmodic torticollis in April 2008, I have consulted three neurologists (including going to the Cleveland clinic) and given up on the following:

-aspartame and all artificial sweeteners
-biting my nails
-chewing gum
-holding the phone in my neck
-over-the-counter sleep aids
– Wellbutrin (doctors use this antidepressant to help people quit smoking)

My significant other and I have done an enormous amount of research into the cause of spasmodic torticollis. I was overwhelmed at the sheer number of potential causes. I have never had an automobile injury, although I was involved in two auto accidents about 30 years ago. My spasms really started occurring consistently when I was eating quite a bit of artificial sweeteners in an attempt to lose weight.

I have tried acupuncture, chiropractic, bite guards, cranial sacral massage therapy, neck exercises, resting, sleeping on my back, relaxation techniques and Botox injections (the only treatment offered… my first Botox injection was administered in September 2008).

I always felt that my spasmodic torticollis was connected to TMJ and had a bite guard made before I was diagnosed. Four days ago, I stopped using the over-the-counter sleep aid. I immediately stopped grinding my teeth! I no longer sleep with my bite guard. The craniosacral massage therapists help me with pain and she actually got my jaw to relax. That was a milestone!

One day, my massage therapist called me very exciting about something called the PierceTechnique that someone had told her about. She had been talking to a woman about my condition. This woman practice this chiropractic technique up north it was certain it would help me. I was skeptical, but did some research and found that there are four chiropractors in Florida that practice this technique. Luckily, one was listed in Sarasota.

On my first visit, rays were taken of my spine with my neck in flexion and extension. This is something no one else had done. On my next visit, the doctor showed me that the vertebra in my neck on the right side had larger spaces than the other side. I began chiropractic treatments from three weeks ago. He began with manual intersegmental traction and progressing to using tapping instrument on the back of my neck. I immediately felt my head was lighter and range of motion was better. However, there was a lot of joint pain the first time he used the tapping instrument. The doctor and I agreed it was because my jaw was shifting back to the proper position. I am still getting the treatments… I have very little pain, even though my Botox must be wearing off by now, in fact, I felt the Botox was wearing off when I first started seeing the doctor three weeks ago!

I have been able to resume normal schedule with very little pain, which I contributed primarily to these treatments. Although, I still use my sensory trick of touching the side of my face, the sudden movement of my head is not as violent or pronounced. When I do not use the sensory check there’s very little pain. Where once the back of my neck felt like a brick wall, I can actually push into the tissue. I am seeing an improvement with each treatment and can’t wait until the next one. My sense of humor is returning and I feel like my old self again!

I have been fortunate that my insurance has covered the majority of the cost of these treatments. I am truly blessed that my massage therapist has never given up on me as well. I truly feel that I will be cured of what the doctors called the incurable.

Here’s the contact information for the doctor:

Hornberger Wellness & CHIROPRACTIC
4001 Swift Rd, first floor
Sarasota, FL 34231

Susan Jager

Spasmodic torticollis (distonia)