My wife Rock is now just above two years since her stroke. Although she has improved very much but her left hand shows very little progress. Lately we consulted with her physiotherapist on her situation and she recommended BOTOX Injection to help with the recovery process. I take this opportunity to share on this treatment, what is BOTOX, how it works, how it helps in the physiotherapy and the effects and consequences involved.
BOTOX or Botulinum Toxin Type A is a natural purified protein extracted from bacteria in molds. Normally the brain sends electrochemical messages to the muscles via nerves to make them contract and move. These messages are transmitted from a nerve to the muscle by a substance called Acetycholine. In the case of spasticity in stroke survivors, where too much Acetylcholine is released, the muscles become overly active and spasms or tightening up occurs. Botox temporarily blocks the nerve’s ability to release acetylcholine and hence muscles are released from tightness or spasms.
After injection, it takes a few days for the Botox to take effect and usually lasts about 3 to 4 months. The amount and the exact location for these injections are determined by a medical practitioner. When the muscles are relaxed, the stroke survivor have to do appropriate, vigorous and intensive exercises or physiotherapy for the muscles to gain strength and hence mobility. Sometimes a few cycles of Botox Injections are necessary to achieve such goals.
As with all injections, the patient may experience pain, tenderness or bruising. Other side effects such as flu like symptoms, joint pain, headaches, skin rash, itchiness, nausea and even dizziness. However these are only temporary and should clear-up very fast.
Botox Injections are not only for stroke survivors but also for other causes of spasticity such as injury to the central nervous system due to accidents, falls etc. Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis and Spinal Cord Injury patients can use Botox Treatment to help in their recovery processes.