Monday, October 25, 2010


By: Tiffany Windhurst

Botox became a recognized household name several years ago, when it started being used to plump up wrinkles and fight the signs of aging.  A non-surgical procedure, the overwhelming popularity to the cosmetic applications of Botox revolutionized an entire industry.   Botox effectively reduces fine lines, wrinkles and laugh lines, making it an ideal solution to temporarily reduce the look of aged skin.

But Botox has been in use for many decades, treating a wide variety of medical conditions.

The name Botox is actually a short form.  The proper name is Botulinum Toxin, and it's primarily a protein treatment.  A group of scientists uncovered it's properties in 1949, discovering that the protein in Botox blocks neuron-muscle transmission.  In short, it can relax muscles to control spasms.

In 1980, the original formulation was tweaked by Alan Scott, who then began using Botox to treat eye conditions such as crossed eyes and Blepharospasm.  The latter condition is symptomized by uncontrolled blinking of the eyes.  Administering Botox to freeze the muscles in the eyelid allows the patient to go up to two years with the blinking under control.  Botox is currently being administered to patients with Blepharospasm and Strabismus across the United Kingdom.

Due to the Botox protein's ability to freeze and relax spasmed muscles, it is widely used in muscle repair therapy.  By freezing the afflicted area, the patient is able to strengthen the damaged or weakened muscles through physiotherapy.  The use of Botox is key to increasing joint motion and controlling spasms while the patient is under rehabilitation.

Upper Motor Neuron Syndrome, as described above, is just one of the muscle related conditions that Botox can aid in treating.  It's also administered to women with Cervical Dystonis.  This is an extremely painful condition that often strikes woman after a physical trauma or after birthing complications.  Cervical Dystonis causes cervical muscle contractions, and the relaxing effect of Botox can temporarily offer relief by greatly reducing the contractions.

Last but not least, Botox can be used to treat people with a disorder called Hyperhidrosis.  This condition is marked by excessive and uncontrolled perspiration.  For those who suffer from this, one Botox injection can keep them dry for up to two whole years.

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