Most of us have heard at least one horror story benefits of botox treatment that have gone scarily wrong, and these anecdotes have probably made you cautious about ever having Botox treatment. However, there are times when Botox—administered correctly and in carefully controlled doses—can be used to treat chronic or severe medical conditions that are reluctant to respond to standard methods.
What is Botox treatment?
Botox is a neurotoxin. In other words, it’s a poisonous liquid that’s produced in the laboratory so it can be used safely. It’s a strain of botulism (i.e. Clostridium botulinum), which works by blocking signals from the brain to the muscles, generally in the face and neck areas. Botox is the brand name for the most commonly used version.
When the facial or neck muscles are injected with Botox, the resulting relaxation can reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, which is why it’s a popular cosmetic treatment. The effects of Botox remain localized, and the effects last for 3-6 months, after which the treatment can be repeated. However, it’s not suitable for some patients, including pregnant women and those with thyroid problems (such as myasthenia gravis).
Here are some of the medical conditions that may be effectively treated with the benefits of botox when other approaches have failed.
Migraine is much more than just a ‘bad headache’ and can cause several other unpleasant symptoms, including vision disturbance, numbness, dizziness, and fainting. Some patients respond well to medication, but chronic sufferers (i.e. those affected more than 15 days per month), can often benefit from the Benefits of Botox treatment. Experts are not entirely sure why Botox can be so successful in managing chronic migraines, and it isn’t effective for other kinds of headaches like tension or cluster headaches.
Botox has also been used to successfully treat some eye conditions. For example, a squint can occur if the muscles around the eye are not properly aligned, with the muscles of one eye pulling more strongly than the muscles in the other one. This can result in blurred or double vision. The benefits Botox can be used to relax the muscles around one eye, which corrects the vision and ‘retrains’ the brain into holding the eye in the right position. Botox can also treat persistent twitching of the eye, again by relaxing the underlying muscles (which stops the twitching).
Muscles spasms and tremors
There are several conditions (e.g. multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy), in which the muscles can become difficult to control, causing occasional or continual tremors, and sometimes painful muscle spasms. Naturally, this can cause great suffering to patients, leaving them in continual pain and often interrupting their sleep. The relaxing effect of Botox releases the tension in these muscles and can reduce or even eliminate the problem, making everyday life much better.
Of course, everyone sweats, but life can be very difficult for people who struggle with excessive sweating (known as ‘hyperhidrosis’). Different areas of the body can be affected, becoming saturated very quickly, which makes ordinary tasks such as holding a pen or opening a jar lid almost impossible. Antiperspirants and deodorants have no effect, and sweating in confined areas of the body (such as underarms and between the toes) can cause fungal infections and peeling skin. Botox blocks the brain signals to the sweat glands, which stops excessive sweating very effectively.
Botox has also been used to transform the lives of those with an overactive bladder. Some people experience frequent and sudden urges to visit the bathroom, sometimes having leakages and ‘accidents’ as a result. This is especially inconvenient at night because people can’t sleep properly due to constant interruptions. Botox can be injected directly into the wall of the bladder, making it relax and removing the continual and urgent signals to urinate.
Other specific conditions
There are a number of other specific conditions that respond well to the benefits of Botox treatment, including Bell’s palsy and so-called “Tennis elbow.” Problems that involve abnormal tightening of the muscles, such as a frozen shoulder, can also be tackled with Botox injections, often very successfully.
Botox sometimes has a bad reputation, but if used carefully by qualified professionals, it can bring welcome relief to many.