Auxiliary Benefits of Botox

March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Botox® has gained more and more popularity for its proposed success in reducing the appearance of expression lines and age-related wrinkles. Not limited to aesthetic benefit, it is also used to balance the problem of Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). It is also renowned among the medical community for its benefits in treating muscle-related abnormalities such as Cervical Dystonia, Strabismus, and Blepharospasm. Recently, another medical use has been found for this compound; it has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment and prevention of chronic migraine headaches.

Clostridium Botulinum (Botox) is a toxic bacterium that binds to neurons, inhibiting acetylcholine – the neurotransmitter responsible for triggering muscle contractions. It causes food poisoning if eaten, and can result in death if an unanticipated area of the body is affected by it (such as the lungs), but its localized use is safe. It causes a temporary paralysis of those muscles into which it is injected.

Medical experts believe that Botox effectively treats migraine pain initially by blocking the sensory nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain and also relaxes the muscles. Patients who have received the injection report to experience migraines less often (some by half) and experience pain less severely. A trial of 1300 patients showed that Botox significantly reduced the frequency of headaches. Lee Tomkins, Director of Migraine Action, says that although Botox cannot heal migraine sufferers, “if they get half the attacks, it can really improve the quality of their life.”

Botox’s newfound use for migraine alleviation is of great benefit to both doctors and sufferers because there are practically no side effects. Most other pain medications are adjunct with a mass of side effects such as constipation, drowsiness, nausea, confusion and delirium, or myoclonus. One observed side effect is the visible drooping of the skin around the injection site. This can be countered by frequently changing the injection point. Similar to any Botox injection, slight bruising, bleeding, and a dull burning sensation may occur, but these sensations will only last temporarily.

In light of this new discovery, researchers are hopeful that Botox may be used to treat arthritis pain. So far studies have shown a decrease in pain and an improvement in function for arthritis sufferers, with results lasting for up to a year. Regardless of these achievements, more extensive research must be performed in order to determine whether or not Botox may be safely used to treat all varieties of arthritis.

Sources

Court House Clinics. (April 12, 2011). “Medical Benefits of Botox Include Migraines.” Disabled World. February 12, 2012. http://www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/migraine/botox.php.

Stratford, SJ. “Benefits of Botox Injections.” Lovetoknow. February 12, 2012. http://skincare.lovetoknow.com/Benefits_of_Botox_Injections

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