7 Medical Reasons for Botox Injections
- It’s Not Just for WrinklesBotulinum toxin is a neurotoxin that relaxes muscles for up to several months. Botox® is well-known for being used to minimize the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes, face and neck. However, doctors also use Botox to treat a variety of medical conditions.
- 1. Chronic MigrainesMigraines are severe headaches accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and noise. Chronic migraines last four or more hours and occur at least every other day. Botox injections into muscles in the head and neck every 12 weeks can prevent migraines from occurring as frequently and can lessen their effects.
- 2. Overactive BladderAn overactive bladder contracts unexpectedly and frequently. This can cause loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence), frequent urination, and the urgent and sudden need to urinate. Urologists can inject Botox into the bladder using a cystoscope, a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Botox injections can help the bladder contract more regularly and normalize urination.
- 3. Excessive Underarm SweatingHyperhidrosis is another name for excessive underarm sweating. It occurs when nerves in the underarm trigger the sweat glands to produce sweat, even in the absence of normal triggers like fear and embarrassment. Some dermatologists and neurologists practice the use of Botox injections into the muscles responsible for pumping sweat to the surface of the skin. This lessens the amount of sweat produced in your underarms.
- 4. Crooked Eyes (Strabismus)In specific types of strabismus, unbalanced muscles around the eye contract to pull one eye in an abnormal direction. This produces crossed or misaligned eyes. Strabismus can lead to an inability to focus, blurred vision, double vision, lack of depth perception, and eye soreness. Botox injections into the overacting eye muscle can relax the muscles that pull the eye sideways and in some cases completely realign the eyes. However, Botox injections are typically reserved for paralytic strabismus, not routine strabismus in children.
- 5. Eyelid Muscle SpasmsEyelid muscle spasms—or blepharospasm—cause uncontrollable and frequent blinking, eye twitches, watery eyes, pain or irritation of the eye and eyelids, and closing of the eyelids. These spasms can make it difficult to do everyday things like driving and using a computer. Botox injections in your eyelid muscles can relieve the muscle twitches of blepharospasm for several months at a time.
- 6. Cervical DystoniaCervical dystonia (also called spasmodic torticollis) is a nerve disorder that causes muscles in the neck and shoulder to involuntarily pull. This leads to uncontrollable head tilting and turning, muscle tremors, and pain. Botox injections can relax the neck and shoulder muscles and relieve the symptoms of cervical dystonia.
- 7. Upper Limb SpasticityUpper limb spasticity is a condition in which the arm muscles involuntarily contract. People with upper limb spasticity may experience constantly clenched fists, stiff elbows, wrists and fingers, inability to control arm movements, and pain. Different conditions of the nervous system can cause upper limb spasticity, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, and injury to the spinal cord or brain. Botox injections into affected arm muscles can reduce the effects of upper limb spasticity.
- 8. “Off-Label” Botox UsesMany doctors and dentists use Botox “off label.” This means the FDA has not approved the use of Botox to treat the condition. These include voice disorders, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, teeth grinding, facial tics, headaches, and others. Off-label Botox treatment is legal and fairly common, but its safety may not yet be fully proven. If your doctor or dentist suggests using off-label Botox treatment for your condition, ask about the available research about its safety and effectiveness. Also, ask your doctor what experience he or she has using Botox to treat the condition. If you don’t feel comfortable with the answers, ask what other treatment methods are available.
7 Medical Reasons for Botox Injections