Dystonia phenomenology and treatment response in migraine.

TitleDystonia phenomenology and treatment response in migraine.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsZolin A, Broner SW, Yoo A, Guan I, Lakhani S, Trabilsy M, Klebanoff L, Vo M, Sarva H
Date Published2023 Feb
KeywordsBotulinum Toxins, Type A, Female, Humans, Male, Migraine Disorders, Neck, Neck Muscles, Retrospective Studies, Torticollis

OBJECTIVE: To describe the phenomenology of cervical dystonia (CD) in patients with migraine and the effect of its treatment on migraine frequency.

BACKGROUND: Preliminary studies demonstrate that treatment of CD with botulinum toxin in those with migraine can improve both conditions. However, the phenomenology of CD in the setting of migraine has not been formally described.

METHODS: We conducted a single-center, descriptive, retrospective case series of patients with a verified diagnosis of migraine who were referred to our movement disorder center for evaluation of co-existing, untreated CD. Patient demographics, characteristics of migraine and CD, and effects of cervical onabotulinumtoxinA (BoTNA) injections were recorded and analyzed.

RESULTS: We identified 58 patients with comorbid CD and migraine. The majority were female (51/58 [88%]) and migraine preceded CD in 72% (38/53) of patients by a mean (range) of 16.0 (0-36) years. Nearly all the patients had laterocollis (57/58) and 60% (35/58) had concurrent torticollis. Migraine was found to be both ipsilateral and contralateral to the dystonia in a comparable proportion of patients (11/52 [21%] vs. 15/52 [28%]). There was no significant relationship between migraine frequency and dystonia severity. Treatment of CD with BoTNA reduced migraine frequency in most patients (15/26 [58%] at 3 months and 10/16 [63%] at 12 months).

CONCLUSIONS: In our cohort, migraine often preceded dystonia symptoms and laterocollis was the most described dystonia phenotype. The lateralization and severity/frequency of these two disorders were unrelated, but dystonic movements were a common migraine trigger. We corroborated previous reports that cervical BoTNA injections reduced migraine frequency. Providers treating patients with migraine and neck pain who are not fully responding to typical therapies should screen for possible CD as a confounding factor, which when treated can reduce migraine frequency.

Alternate JournalHeadache
PubMed ID36794299