You might be more familiar with Botox® as a cosmetic treatment, but it’s also a valuable option for neuromuscular disorders, as well as migraines and other pain syndromes. Triple board-certified physiatrist Stan Mathew, MD, of American Rehabilitation Medicine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Dubuque, Iowa, specializes in using non-opioid treatments that offer genuine benefits to patients, like Botox. If you’d like to find out more, call American Rehabilitation Medicine today to schedule an appointment or use the online booking form.
Botox is a neurotoxin that Stan Mathew, MD, uses to treat chronic pain and hyperactive muscle disorders. Neurotoxins are poisons that affect the nervous system, disrupting signals sent from the nerves to the muscles.
Botox comes from a neurotoxin called botulinum. After refining in a laboratory, the botulinum toxin is safe to use in medical treatments. It’s also well-known as a cosmetic treatment for lines and wrinkles, but medical Botox has specific non-cosmetic uses.
- Torticollis (wry neck)
- Certain pain syndromes
Botox is also an approved treatment for people who have severe migraines when other treatments aren’t helping.
Botox affects the chemical messenger or neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine acts on the cells in your muscles and makes your muscles contract.
Injecting a minute quantity of Botox inhibits the release of acetylcholine, which reduces the muscle’s ability to contract. This is a valuable treatment option for people who have neuromuscular disorders.
Neuromuscular disorders affect the nerves controlling your voluntary muscles, which you consciously operate; for example, the arm and leg muscles you use when you walk.
Nerve cells, or neurons, send out messages to the voluntary muscles. If these neurons die or become damaged, it disrupts the communication process. As a result, your muscles weaken and begin to waste away. Weakening muscles can cause symptoms such as:
- Joint problems
- Mobility problems
These disorders can also affect heart function and impair your ability to breathe.
Botox injections can reduce stiffness and help release frozen muscles in people who have neuromuscular disorders.
Types of neuromuscular disorders:
Spasticity is a type of muscle stiffness that develops because of damage to your central nervous system. It’s common in patients with:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral aneurysms
- Brain and spinal cord trauma
- Hypoxia (lack of oxygen)
As well as the muscle stiffness spasticity causes, you might well have other symptoms, including weakness, pain, loss of feeling, and poor coordination.
Dystonia causes involuntary muscle contractions that result in twisting type movements that you make repeatedly. These uncontrollable movements can be painful, and you might also experience:
- Voice problems
- Dragging foot
Dystonia might affect one or a group of your muscles, or in severe cases, all of them. The condition typically develops during childhood, or by the time a child reaches early adulthood.