The American Academy for Neurology has just published new physician guidelines on using Botox as a treatment for a host of neurological disorders.
Most of the population recognizes Botox as a leader in the cosmetic industry, but for decades, it has been successfully used as a treatment for many chronic conditions.
According to the AAN, Botox can be used to cover pain and involuntary muscle spasms. When used, the neurotoxic protein found in Botox will induce temporary muscle paralysis.
Due to this, Botox prevents nerve endings from releasing a chemical that is behind muscle movement and pain signaling.
These new guidelines were released at AAN’s 68th annual meeting and updated the previous guidelines established in 2008.
Included were a number of new disorders Botox can now be used to treat. Added to the list was stroke, spinal cord injuries, cervical dystonia, a disorder of the brain that causes involuntary head and neck movement, blepharospasm, a movement disorder that causes the eyes to close uncontrollably, and chronic migraines.
Up until recently, Botox was seen as a primarily experimental treatment. Approved for use in 2010 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Botox has yielded surprisingly high results, with fewer side effects than other alternative medicines.
This treatment option is meant to be temporary. On average, Botox injections last between three and four months, so experts recommend a patient return regularly for follow up treatments.
David M. Simpson, professor of neurology and director of neurophysiology labratories at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and coauthor of the guidelines, believes that many people don’t realize Botox is covered under many insurance plans.
When deemed necessary for a patient’s treatment and rehabilitation, Simpson told Newsweek, “This is not a last resort. In some situations on might think it should come in very early in the treatment cycle.”