Long before it wiped out worry lines and age wrinkles, Botox was created to stop muscle spasms in the eye. Besides its fountain-of-youth qualities, it’s being used to relieve exhausting and sometimes debilitating effects of a neurological disorder called dystonia.
While in Las Vegas, Char Lacenski took some time to admire Peter Alexander’s glass sculpture “Sugar.” Lacenski came to the Cleveland Clinic, Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health so that she can get her Botox.
Lacenski has dystonia; it’s a neurological condition suffered by 300,000 Americans. Her neck muscles misfire causing spasms and this tremor.
“Some people have problems with their neck; they can have abnormal posturing where their neck is turned. Some people have more extreme symptoms where the limbs are actually distorted. It’s very painful,” says Brent Bluett, a Movement Disorder Specialist at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas.
Dr. Bluett gives Lacenski six shots of Botox in her neck and shoulder muscles to relax them. He also uses an electro-myelogram to pinpoint where to give the injections.
“You feel much better afterward. Once it starts kicking in like I said, my head doesn’t have a tendency to move to the right as much as it does if I don’t have the shots given,” says Lacenski.
It takes a few days for the Botox to take effect and Lacenski will have to come back in about three months when it wears off.
Dr. Bluett says the treatment can temporarily cause flu-like symptoms or pain when swallowing which is why he starts with a low dose and slowly increases it until it works.
Lacenski encourages other dystonia patients to talk with their doctors to see if it will work for them like it has for her.
Dr. Bluett says when Botox is combined with physical therapy; the results are even better. Insurance usually pays for treatment because it’s an effective way to relieve symptoms and is FDA approved.