Local specialist works to treat those suffering from dystonia
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
As many as 300,000 people around the nation have some form of dystonia. It causes uncontrollable muscle contractions and can be painful and disabling.
A local movement disorder specialist is working to give people suffering from the disorder access to a treatment option.
For 20 years, Overton resident Linda Erwin has been living with cervical dystonia, a rare neurological disorder.
"It causes my neck to turn or twist and then I get a tremor quite bad," Erwin said.
She turned to Botox injections -- a treatment that relaxes excessive muscle contractions.
For years she's been traveling to Colorado every three months to get them.
Now, it's just an hour drive away at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
"I would probably be disabled if I didn't have somebody like Dr. Bluett to come to and get the treatment," Erwin said.
Dr. Brent Bluett created Southern Nevada's first full-day clinic specializing in botox injections for dystonia.
"It cuts off the communication between the nerve and the muscle so that the nerve when it activates the muscle, it still relaxes," Dr. Bluett said. "It takes 2-4 days to work."
While many people associated Botox with cosmetics, Dr. Bluett sees how it changes the quality of life for his patients, especially because dystonia is under-recognized.
"It kept my life normal. I've had a healthy lifestyle. I work full-time, I've traveled extensively, and so it's been a miracle," Erwin said. "I was talking to my husband on the way down. It's truly a miracle to have these available."
Dr. Bluett works with various foundations and coalitions to raise awareness and research the disorder.
"It's very rewarding to see a drastic effect and improvement on their life," Dr. Bluett said.