Cosmetic or therapeutic? Understanding botox

Cosmetic or therapeutic? Understanding botox

 However, botox is considered useful by people seeking relief from debilitating headaches, twitches and tics.

There are several concerns about botox, ranging from the fact that it is prohibitively expensive to fears surrounding its use and side-effects.

Botox is a purified toxin. In its impure form it causes botulism, a disease in which the patient gets diarrhoea. It is known mostly as the medicine to smoothen out wrinkles in order to make people appear young. This has also become the main reason for its high cost and widespread publicity. However, many doctors describe botox as a “patient-friendly toxin”. While it causes weakness in the limbs and loss of fluids as a toxin, it relaxes tension in the muscles, which is what it does to patients with wrinkles. The use of botox has been reported by doctors treating people who have suffered strokes or cerebral palsy.

Children with multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy (CP) are given botox to relax their muscles. Those with CP, in particular, have difficulties using their limbs. They can’t walk normally and, in some cases, have to undergo surgery. Although muscular tension is reduced with surgery, the effects are not permanent. Moreover, it is not possible to keep opting for surgery. In such circumstances, botox is suggested. Usually, doctors follow up botox treatment with physiotherapy. Unfortunately, botox’s role as a cosmetic drug is hyped more than the therapeutic effect it has on some medical conditions.
 
What about the side-effects?

In general, it causes no serious side-effects, although extreme caution needs to be exercised while injecting it. Usually, botox is injected to the areas of muscles that have stiffened, and the patient can feel the effect in a couple of weeks. If injected into the arteries it can result in complications like diarrhoea.
 
Are you suggesting that botox can ease any kind of muscular tension?

Yes. These days, it is used to cure writer’s cramp (also called mogigraphia and scrivener’s palsy), which is used to describe a condition where the fingers and the hand go into a cramp. There are some indications that botox eases discomfort for those who have trigeminal neuralgia (TN), a problem relating to one of the facial nerves. It is also used to treat cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis), a problem that affects the neck and shoulders. People who have excessive sweating on their palms and soles sometimes seek botox treatment and so do those who lack bladder control. However, many of these treatments have emerged in studies and are off-counter for now.

What about the cost?

While it is true that the cosmetic usage of botox remains costly, it is not very expensive in hospitals where it used to treat medical conditions.

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