Muscle afferent block for the treatment of oromandibular dystonia



Oromandibular dystonia is a focal dystonia involving the masticatory and tongue muscles, causing difficulties in speech or mastication. We treated 13 patients with this condition by injecting diluted lidocaine and alcohol intramuscularly. This method is aimed at reducing muscle spindle afferent activity. The symptoms had been resistant to other therapies such as pharmacotherapy or dental treatment. All patients showed clinical improvement after this therapy with reduced EMG activities in the affected muscles, whereas control injection of normal saline gave no changes in EMG activities. The overall subjective improvement was 57.7 ± 25.1% (mean ± standard deviation) in a self-rating scale. The mean response of the jaw elevator muscles (70 ± 13.1%) was significantly higher (p < 0.02, t test) than that of the depressor muscles (38 ± 28.4%). Despite the precise mechanism being unknown, this difference might be related to the smaller number of muscle spindles in the depressor than the elevator muscles. This therapy is useful for the treatment of drug-resistant oromandibular dystonia.