The popular and much talked about way of smoothing wrinkles, Botox, could actually reduce pain, according to new US research. Experts at the John Hopkins School of medicine have suggested that Botox could be able to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. This is a painful and debilitating condition that compresses nerves in the lower neck and causes considering discomfort in the arm. Yet the study has revealed that Botox, which is a toxin known to weak certain nerves and muscles, can reduce the pain for up to two months after just one injection.
The topic of Botox injections is the subject of much discussion in celebrity magazines and the tabloid newspapers as a type of beauty treatment. It's now a procedure that is almost taken for granted, although little is really publicized about how it works and its wider effects through other uses. Yet its properties are now being studied in a more serious way, and research does suggest that Botox could have been used as alternative to surgery and as a painkiller.
Known scientifically as botulinum toxin, it is one of the most lethal toxins known in the world, but used in very small doses it can be effective in treating muscle spasms and in a range of cosmetic procedures. Using Botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent was first experimented with in the early 1980s by a group of ophthalmologists in North America. By the late 1980s it was being experimented with as an anti-aging product.
Botox – more than just a 'pretty face' …
But increasing scientific studies show that far from the myths surrounding the wonders of Botox as an anti-wrinkle treatment, Botox can provide relief from migraine headaches and eye spasms. In addition to this Botox has also been found to be useful in treating trigeminal neuralgia. This condition leaves sufferers in intestinal facial pain, and previously the only way to treat trigeminal neuralgia was to use anticonvulsant drugs and neurosurgery. The anticonvulsant drugs had some unpleasing and discomforting side effects after treatment, while surgery for this condition is both expensive and carries risks. Both of these treatments also could not guarantee to get rid of the condition, so there was a lot of enthusiasm for the possibility that Botox could be used as a treatment for this painful illness.
To treat trigeminal neuralgia with Botox, patients need to have around 10 units of Botox injected four or five times per year. In a 60-day study completed in the US, patients reduced their consumption of pain killers for trigeminal neuralgia by around 50%, and some even stopped taking pain killers altogether thanks to the Botox treatment.
Botox is now licensed in some parts of the world for use as a painkiller or treatment for a variety of conditions such as excessive sweating, low back pain and muscle spasms. It has now been used for years to treat over 1 million patients across the world. Produced in controlled laboratory conditions, and always given in extremely small therapeutic amounts, it has none of the no side effects associated with other methods of treatment that include Gi upset, fatigue, confusion, depression or liver toxicity.
The myths surrounding the topic of Botox injections as an effective anti-aging treatment have for many years given the procedure an air of mystery. Once the preserve of celebrities and those in the public eye, Botox treatment has now become reliably commonplace. Many high street beauty salons offer the opportunity for people to pop in for a quick anti wrinkle injection in their lunch hour. We've become pretty blase about the whole thing. But this new research shows that Botox is not just a pretty face treatment – it has some serious pharmacological benefits as well.