In the 1970s, BOTOX® was studied and used as a treatment for strabismus (crossed eyes). Ophthalmologists subsequently began using BOTOX® for blepharospasm (eye twitching) because of its ability to relax the muscles around the eye. BOTOX® injections were intended for the treatment of various types of dystonia ( muscle spasms) before BOTOX® Cosmetic received FDA approval in 2002 for cosmetic treatment of frown lines and wrinkles. The following sections will provide an overview of BOTOX® treatment for various types of muscle spasms and describe those individuals who are ideal candidates for treatment. The various risks and benefits involved with treatment as well as the role of insurance in paying for treatment will also be addressed.
How does BOTOX® Cosmetic Treat Muscle Spasms?
BOTOX® works by blocking neural impulses to the muscles in the injected area. As a result, the muscles relax and muscle spasms — sudden, involuntary contractions of the muscles — are no longer able to occur.
Candidates for BOTOX® Muscle Spasm Treatment
Anyone who suffers from severe, chronic muscle spasms may be an ideal candidate for treatment with BOTOX® . Candidates though must be realistic in their expectations. Though BOTOX® injections are effective in treating muscle spasms in many patients, results do vary among those treated.
BOTOX® Injections for Neck Spasms
BOTOX® injections for neck spasms (or cervical dystonia) are highly successful in relieving pain and returning normal neck movement and range. Cervical dystonia is characterized my abnormal, sustained posturing of the head and neck caused by involuntary contraction of the muscles. The cause of cervical dystonia is unknown, but the condition can be aggravated by walking or during periods of stress.
BOTOX® Injections for Facial Spasms
Frequent involuntary contractions of the facial muscles characterize a disorder known as hemifacial spasm. This disorder typically affects the muscles on one side of the face. BOTOX® injections for these types of muscle spasms are, on average, 95 percent successful in providing relief.
BOTOX® and Blepharospasm (Eye Spasm) Treatment
BOTOX® is also administered for strabismus (crossed eyes) and blepharospasm treatment. Blepharospasm is a term describing any abnormal, involuntary muscle contraction of the muscles controlling the eyelids. Typically, blepharospasm affects both eyelids and can escalate to functional blindness if left untreated.
Since blepharospasm concerns the contraction of muscles around the eye, BOTOX® functions to impede nerve impulses that control the contraction, weakening and relaxing the muscle as a result.
Risks and Benefits of BOTOX® Treatment for Muscle Spasms
The most rewarding benefit received from BOTOX® injections for muscle spasms is a relief from pain and discomfort. BOTOX® has long been proven to provide safe and successful relief from these types of afflictions, and in many cases, treatment with BOTOX® is less expensive and less invasive than other therapies, including surgery.
Unfortunately, the effects of treatment with BOTOX® are temporary. Periodic retreatment is necessary to maintain the therapeutic results.
The complications following BOTOX® treatment are minor. Nevertheless, side effects do occur in some individuals.
In patients receiving BOTOX® injections to treat cervical dystonia, the most frequently reported adverse reactions included dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), cold or flu-like symptoms, neck pain, and headache.
In patients receiving BOTOX® for facial spasm and blepharospasm treatment, side effects include facial weakness, ptosis (droopy eyelids), inflammation of the cornea, dry eye, and double vision.
Will Insurance Cover BOTOX® Muscle Spasm Treatment?
Some insurance companies will cover the use of BOTOX® for the treatment of muscle spasms. Unfortunately, nearly half of all patients seeking treatment do so without assistance from their insurers. DocShop provides additional information on the cost of BOTOX® treatments.
DocShop – Helping you Locate Physicians near You
The DocShop directory of physicians can help you locate a qualified cosmetic dermatologist that can provide you with more information regarding the use of BOTOX® injections for the treatment of muscle spasms.