To the general public, BOTOX may be most recognized as an option for reducing wrinkles, frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines.
To the 3.3 million Americans suffering from debilitating migraine headaches repeatedly each month, BOTOX can mean relief and an improved quality of life.
Joseph Brooks, D.O., of the Genesis Spine and Joint Health Center, said BOTOX is effective for several medical conditions, including chronic migraine headaches.
Botulinum toxin also is used to treat muscle spasticity or tightness after stroke. Nearly one-third of stroke patients experience spasticity following stroke.
BOTOX is also used to treat spasms or movement disorders such as cervical dystonia or torticollis. BOTOX relaxes muscle by blocking the release of a chemical called acetylcholine.
Dr. Brooks said BOTOX is not a long-term cure and symptoms could gradually return as the effectiveness wanes.
“When you are the person suffering from chronic migraine headaches, even partial reduction in the high number of headaches each month can be a major relief,’’ Dr. Brooks said. “Unlike cosmetic uses of the medication, these medical diagnoses significantly impact a patient’s function and quality of life.
“For cervical dystonia, post-stroke spasticity and chronic migraine, both the medication and the injection procedure are usually covered by health insurance benefits.’’
Dr. Brooks said cervical dystonia is a medical condition of abnormal muscle tone affecting primarily the neck muscles. The condition produces abnormal movements, muscle spasms and abnormal postures of the head and neck.
Torticollis is abnormal rotation of the head and neck. It affects a majority of cervical dystonia patients.
Study results of the effectiveness of BOTOX injections for the treatment of migraine headaches have demonstrated a reduction of migraine days. Dr. Brooks said he has experienced similar results in his practice.
“My experience is that Botox reduces the headache days by about 50 percent,’’ Dr. Brooks said. “It’s also my experience that other headache days are significantly less severe.
“Patients are very satisfied with their results. They have usually tried other medications without any benefit. BOTOX is an evidence-based approach for those patients.’’
There are additional benefits to BOTOX treatment for migraines. Fewer severe migraines can mean fewer missed work hours and improved quality of life.
Dr. Brooks said migraine sufferers receiving BOTOX injections may experience side effects, however, other drugs for preventing chronic migraine headaches are known to have more severe side effects than BOTOX.
The Genesis stroke rehabilitation team works with stroke patients to determine which medications, if any, can improve muscle stiffness after a stroke.
For information about BOTOX and other treatments available for chronic migraines or treatments and rehabilitation following stroke, call the Genesis Spine and Joint Center at 563-421-3555.