Trick maneuvers in cervical dystonia: investigation of movement- and touch-related changes in polymyographic activity

Mov Disord. 1999 Nov;14(6):994-9. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(199911)14:6<994::aid-mds1013>;2-k.


Antagonistic gestures or trick maneuvers are well-known clinical features to reduce or abolish dystonic posturing in cervical dystonia (CD). The maneuvers typically consist of a finger touch to the facial skin but their physiology remains unknown. To determine the temporal profile of geste maneuver performance, 25 patients with idiopathic CD were studied by means of polymyography of six cervical muscles prior to any botulinum toxin treatment. Two piezoelectric elements fixed to a fingertip of the hand involved in the trick maneuver and to the facial target region, respectively, were used to relate the essential points of the trick maneuver time course (start of geste-arm movement, facial contact, end of contact, end of movement) to changes in polymyographic activity. Thirteen patients (52%) showed marked reductions of electromyographic (EMG) activity (> or =50% in at least one muscle) during arm movement, definitely prior to contact between fingers and facial target area; in the remaining 12 patients (48%), geste-related EMG effects were confined to facial-finger contact. These results might indicate different physiological mechanisms in clinically indistinguishable antagonistic gestures.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography*
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Female
  • Gestures*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neck Muscles / physiopathology
  • Torticollis / diagnosis*
  • Torticollis / physiopathology
  • Touch / physiology*