Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Parkinson's Disease

Head drop related to Parkinsons

03/15/2006

Question:

My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson`s Disease in 1997 at the age of 57. He had symptoms for several years prior to diagnosis. About 2 years ago, his head began to drop. For the past 15 months he now has a full chin to chest head drop. He cannot lift his head except to push it up and hold it up with his hand. We have tried bracing, but the braces are designed for orthopaedic problems and cervical injuries and do not serve his needs. Is there anyone who can help us find a brace that will hold his head up and allow for some flexibility? Does any one make custom braces that would address his needs? As you can imagine, the quality of his life has diminished significantly because of the severity of the head drop. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Our neurologist has tried to help but really does not know where to turn. Thank you.

Answer:

Head drop or anterocollis is associated with Parkinson's and related Parkinsonian syndromes.  Unfortunately, it does not respond to any medicine therapies well or botulinum toxin therapy (as is commonly used to treat the abnormal neck postures in cervical dystonia).  Neck braces or cervical collars used periodically during the day for certain activities can be helpful.  Patients should seek advice through their neurologist regarding this, perhaps for referral to Occupational Therapy or Physical Medicine and Rehabilitative Specialists that might offer some help in the area of devices. 

It is also important that the patient be examined thoroughly by their doctor for signs of muscle weakness elsewhere to rule out any other muscle problem that might be adding to the neck posturing.

For more information:

Go to the Parkinson's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen M Thomas, DO Karen M Thomas, DO
Formerly:
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University