Although Botox injections are primarily known for their use in cosmetic treatments, there are many other medical uses. Botox injections are often used to treat severe medical conditions such as movement disorders, spasticity, and migraine headaches.
Botox stems from botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin used to relax the muscles. Presently, there are seven types of botulinum toxin injections in the United States: A, B, C1, D, E, F, and G. According to Maria Guina, MD, of TPMG Neurology at Williamsburg, the first commercially available and most widely used in the United States is botulinum toxin type A.
With movement disorders, there is excessive muscle contraction such as cervical dystonia (involving the neck), hemifacial spasm (involving the face), blepharospasm (involving the eyes), and limb dystonia (involving the limbs). Botulinum toxin type A is injected in precise doses to reduce the number of muscle contractions. These injections are given every three to six months.
Spasticity causes muscle stiffening, tightening, and loss of control. Botulinum toxin type A is injected into the muscles to reduce pain and improve function.
Botulinum toxin type A reduces the transmission of pain signals from the brain by blocking neurotransmitters. Medical providers recommend treatment for adults who have suffered from chronic migraines anywhere from 15-30 days, lasting for about four or more hours. Patients receive injections every 12 weeks.
Before receiving Botox injections, discuss the risks, benefits, side effects, and treatment plan with your provider. Some individuals with neurologic conditions are not candidates for botulinum toxin therapy. This therapy is not performed if antibiotics, fever, or infection is present in the body. Prior allergic reactions to botulinum toxin therapy will also prevent Botox treatment.
After injection, individuals may feel fatigue, weakness, or soreness in the area of treatment. Botulinum therapy may cause loss of strength, weakness, vision problems, or dizziness within hours or weeks. Should these occur, do not drive, operate machinery, or participate in dangerous activities. Patients may also develop neutralizing antibodies that reduce injection efficacy over time. In this case, other types of botulinum toxin can be used as alternatives to therapy.
Dr. Guina has been utilizing Botox injections for the past 19 years and finds it extremely advantageous for her patients.
“It has been rewarding to see patients get great results in improving their daily function by allowing them to read, drive, move the affected limb, or become headache-free…” she said.
If you or someone you know experiences chronic migraine headaches, spasticity, or movement disorders, please contact a primary care provider or neurologist to determine the best treatment options.
About Maria Guina, MD
Maria Guina MD, is a fellowship trained, board certified neurologist who treats all neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease (PD), multiple sclerosis (MS), seizures, epilepsies, stroke, migraines and other types of headaches, among other neurological disorders. Her special interests include epilepsy, Women’s health, neurotoxin treatment for spasticity, and movement disorders.
Dr. Guina practices at TPMG Neurology at Williamsburg.