Botox Injections

It’s not just for wrinkles!

What do a pretty face, neck pain, and migraines have in common? The answer may have surprised you if you had not read the title to this article. Yes, we have used Botox cosmetically for frown lines and wrinkles but it is approved by the FDA for several medical conditions. Botox has been used for decades in neurologic disorders which result in increase spasm such as cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord and head injury. More recently Botox has been FDA approved and used successfully in a diagnosis referred to as “spasmodic torticollis and in the treatment of migraine headache.

What is Botox?

Botox is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. This toxin can cause botulism which people associate with food poisoning.

However, scientists have discovered a way to use the Botulinum toxin to human advantage. Small amounts diluted with sterile normal saline can be used directly into muscles causing a controlled weakening effect.

How does Botox work?

Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle has a decreased or non- existent contraction.

How can you tell if a headache is a migraine?

A migraine is a headache with throbbing pain that is usually worse on one side of the head. The pain is often severe enough to hamper daily activities and may last from four hours to three days if untreated. One in ten people in the U.S. can have migraines. Foods, stress, hormones, and muscle pain can trigger a migraine headache. Unlike the occasional headache, the chronic migraine condition is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, intense sensitivity to light and noise, and moderate to severe pain.

The addition of Botox headache shots could be significant for some chronic migraine patients who do not respond to the standard treatments. Standard medications include various anti-inflammatory medicines, triptans, pain medicines, blood pressure treatment, antidepressants, and seizure medications. Most of these medicines are taken daily to prevent the headache.

Candidates for Botox include those patients with painful migraines at least 15 days out of every month even with the above medications. 

The Botox injections are given 3 months apart at the onset of treatment and then depending on how the patient fares can be less frequently.

What is Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia)?

Spasmodic torticollis is where the head is twisted or turned to one side in chronic spasm. This can be caused by a neurologic or musculoskeletal injury such as whiplash or disc herniation.

How is the Botox injection performed for muscle spasm?

Depending on which muscles are injected, the aid of an electromyography(EMG) machine may be used. The injection needle is hooked to the machine and when the spasm is seen on the oscilloscope of the EMG, then the Botox is injected. This is especially beneficial when injecting into the small muscles in the neck.

For more information on Barrack Spine & Joint Medicine or to schedule an appointment please contact us today!