Botulinum Toxin Injections – A Treatment for Muscle Spasms
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Botulinum toxin or Botox, is a protein that stops muscle spasms when it is injected directly into the muscle. A spasm is when your muscle contracts or moves on its own. It feels like twitching.
Path to improved health
Your healthcare provider may consider Botox injections to treat certain muscle spasms. These could include:
- Twitching on your face or eyelids.
- Eye movement disorders, such as a lazy eye (also called strabismus).
- Cervical dystonia. A muscle spasm that causes the head and neck to twist or turn. It is uncomfortable
Your healthcare provider may use botulinum toxin injections to treat other problems as well. These could include chronic migraine headaches or excessive sweating.
Botox injections are given in a healthcare provider’s office. The toxin is mixed with saline (salt water) and injected into the muscle with a tiny needle. You may receive 5 to 10 injections in 1 sitting. The number of injections depends on the condition your healthcare provider is treating. It also depends on the size of the area being treated.
Things to consider
Botulinum toxin is made by the same bacterium that causes food poisoning. A high dose of botulinum toxin could be fatal, just as food poisoning can be fatal. However, the dose given in injections is so small that you probably won’t have any harmful effects from the toxin. Botulinum toxin has been used safely for a number of years.
There may be some side effects. You might have some soreness at the injection sites. If your injection sites get sore, you can take acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (two brand names: Advil, Motrin). You can also put an ice pack on the painful area.
You might also have the following side effects:
- Weakness in the muscles that were injected
- Flu-like symptoms
- Droopy or crooked eyebrows.
- Eye dryness or excessive tearing
Side effects from botulinum toxin injections usually go away quickly.
Rarely, the side effects of a Botox injection spreads to other parts of the body. If it does, it can cause more severe side effects. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after receiving injections:
- Trouble breathing.
- Problems speaking or swallowing.
- All-over muscle weakness.
- Vision problems