The rise of Botox Cosmetic over the past 10 years looms large over the popular imagination. But many people don’t know that Botox has a much longer history. In fact, the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States has its roots in important therapies for chronic conditions. Botox continues to be used for its astounding – and sometimes counterintuitive – benefits.
What makes Botox so useful for therapy? It’s made from botulinum toxin, which has the ability to inhibit nerve impulses at targeted sites. A Botox injection causes targeted muscles to relax. When applied to the face, this allows other muscles to stretch, which erases the appearance of wrinkles. As a result, Botox has helped millions as a non-surgical alternative to facelift. Doctors have taken advantage of this relaxing effect to help people with chronic conditions linked to muscles.
1. Muscle Spasms
For thousands of Americans, muscle spasms are a daily problem. They can be caused by stroke, brain injury, or other neurological problems. Muscles can spasm spontaneously, or remain clenched over long periods, which can be painful and debilitating. Due to its ability to relax targeted muscles, Botox is able to help in physical recovery and rehabilitation.
Despite the development of other drugs, Botox often remains the treatment of choice. A recent article in the UK Daily Mail profiled a young woman who had suffered a stroke at the age of 15. During her recovery, her right fist was continually clenched, which made it difficult for her to perform daily tasks. Doctors applied Botox so that she could finally relax her hand. Other muscle relaxants were considered, but would have had broader side effects throughout her body.
2. Teeth Grinding
This common habit often occurs at night, when people are sleeping. Over time, teeth grinding often results in cracked or worn-down teeth. ABC News reports that by relaxing certain jaw muscles, Botox is able to diminish – and sometimes even eliminate – teeth grinding.
3. Migraine Headaches
If you have ever experienced a migraine, you can understand the daily torture that chronic sufferers are forced to endure. These blinding headaches are sometimes caused by pressure on certain facial nerves. Research is shown that Botox, by relaxing certain muscles, can relieve pressure on these nerves. For a more permanent solution, many men and women have chosen brow lift surgery, which can also cure certain types of migraines.