Botox has been commonly known for its ability to treat fine lines and wrinkles in the face, but has also made a name for itself treating muscle spasms. In fact, the first FDA approval for Botox was for the treatment of muscle spasms of the eyelids. More recently, Botox is being used to treat muscle spasms in women with endometriosis and children with cerebral palsy.
Botox works by blocking the chemical signal between nerves and muscles that makes the muscle contract or tighten. That is why it has been a common treatment for a variety of muscle issues.
Women suffering from endometriosis endure persistent muscle spasms in the pelvic floor. Endometriosis affects an estimated 5 to 10 percent of reproductive-age women, or 176 million women worldwide. In a recent study, 13 women had Botox injected into their pelvic floor, which targeted areas of muscle spasms that were causing pain. All women in the study reported a reduction in pain, and 11 of the 13 reported their pain as mild or completely gone after injections. There is still more research that needs to be done but it is proving to be a promising tool to alleviate these spasms.
Upper Limb Spasticity in Children
Another new treatment Botox has been used for is children with spastic muscles, usually from cerebral palsy. Botox is the first neurotoxin treatment that is FDA approved to treat pediatric patients, 2 to 17 years of age, with upper limb spasticity. Spastic muscles make movement and motor functions hard for children with cerebral palsy. Botox can help target specific muscles which can provide relief from pain and muscle stiffness. After the injection, patients tend to see results directly after, and those results can last around 3 months. Side effects include weakness and localized injection site pain.
The uses for Botox continue to develop, and it is important to consult your patient and manage expectations with them about the treatment.