Botulinum toxin, also known as Botox, is a natural, highly-purified protein produced from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When it’s delivered in small doses to just the right spot, this potent neurotoxin becomes a therapeutic agent. Of the many types of C. botulinum, only types A (Botox) and B (Myobloc®) are used medically.
Muscles spasms are caused by chemical messages sent by nerves, which tell the muscles to contract. Botox works by blocking the nerve signals that cause muscles to contract, effectively helping those muscles to relax and reducing or eliminating spasms.
Botox therapy is used to address the symptoms of many neurological disorders. It’s commonly used to treat a number of conditions including:
Botox can be useful to patients affected by stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain injuries, and other neurological conditions.
Before Botox is administered, the proper dosage for the treatment area is mixed with a saline solution. Depending on the medical condition that’s being treated, you may receive one injection or several.
Because the needles used for Botox injections are very thin, the procedure is relatively painless and is generally performed without anesthesia. Prior to treatment, your physician at The Neurology Group determines how many injections you need, the correct dosage for each injection, and exactly where they should be placed for the desired effect.
The primary goal of Botox therapy is to reduce muscle spasm and pain while restoring functionality. Although the treatment is largely successful, it isn’t permanent. That’s because neurons eventually generate new nerve endings that reactivate your muscles, causing them to contract involuntarily once again.
Luckily, the treatment can be repeated every three to four months as needed to help you maintain your results. For patients who receive Botox to help with arm, hand, or leg spasms, working with a physical therapist in between treatments can help you achieve optimal muscle function.
Following treatment, you may briefly experience a modest amount of pain, swelling, and redness. These minor side effects are usually short-lived and disappear quickly. Serious adverse reactions are rare, but if you have any questions or concerns, your doctor at The Neurology Group can address them during your consultation.