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Botox For Movement Disorders: A First-Line Treatment, A Last-Chance Miracle

Botox For Movement Disorders A First-Line Treatment, A Last-Chance Miracle

Botulinum toxin injections have proved to be a valuable treatment for movement disorders – including those that occur naturally, because of illness or injury and as a side effect of medications. A wide range of disorders that include dystonias, tics, myoclonus and tremors can be treated successfully with Botox and related botulinum toxin products.

In some cases, Botox is the preferred first-line treatment for a disorder. In others, it’s the final hope for symptom relief when nothing else works.

Framing With Historical Context

The attention of the medical community was first drawn to the idea of movement disorders as a grouping of conditions in 1962 by Dr. Derek Denny-Brown, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. His book The Basal Ganglia and Its Relation to the Disorders of Movement defined the field.

The idea of using Botox for movement disorders, however, might never have taken hold if not for the 1985 formation of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society by professors Stanley Fahn and David Marsden. This led to the positioning of these disorders as a subspecialty of neurology, opening them up for new studies on treatments.

While the concepts behind Botox injections has existed since the 1920s, it wasn’t seriously tested in humans until the late 1970s, when it was used to treat crossed eyes. In 1989, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Botox to treat strabismus, blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. Since then, usage and applications have expanded.

Botox For Movement Disorders May Be The First Choice

When Botox works for a movement disorder, it often works quickly. Generally, results are possible within 7 to 14 days, peak effectiveness is often achieved at 2 to 6 weeks and effects wane at around the 10 to 12 week mark.

For some conditions, the effect of Botox is so remarkable that experts see no reason to attempt other treatments first.

One such condition is cervical dystonia, which is characterized by involuntary neck movements. Clinical research has provided such conclusive evidence of Botox effectiveness for the condition that the American Academy of Neurology suggests the injections as the first treatment to try for the condition. It’s impossible to estimate how many golfers, musicians and others who perform repetitive motions have been helped by Botox treatments.

Botox has been used since 1989 to treat blepharospasm – an annoying and sometimes debilitating condition that involves uncontrolled closing, blinking or narrowing of eyelids. This type of dystonia had no effective treatment – either clinical or surgical – prior to FDA approval of Botox for it.

Other movement disorders that may respond to Botox, although perhaps not in all cases, include:

  • Spasmodic dysphonia
  • Oromandibular dystonia and bruxism
  • Hemifacial spasm
  • Palatal myoclonus
  • Essential tremor
  • Tics
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Spasticity
  • Plus a range of Parkinson’s disease symptoms including rest tremor, camptocormia, Levodopa-induced dyskinesias and freezing of gait.

In some cases, Botox is reserved for use when traditional treatments don’t help symptoms. Whether used as a first-line treatment or a last hope, Botox for movement disorders is changing millions of lives for the better.

Who To Trust To Administer Botox For Movement Disorders

While some medical professionals learned the basics of Botox and related injectables in medical school, many did not. Patients seeking Botox for movement disorders or any other purpose should carefully review the educational background and special training of any injector they are considering.

Dentox trains doctors, dentists and other medical professionals in Botox for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes through hands-on classes held in person around the nation as well as online and on demand. If you’re a medical professional wanting better skills so you can treat patients better, reach out to Dentox or sign up now. Our founder, Dr. Howard Katz, is the nation’s first Botox trainer and the recognized leader in injectable training for more than two decades.


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