Involuntary muscle contractions are known as muscle spasms or muscle spasticity. Muscle spasms are common symptoms of conditions like multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, but spasticity can also develop following a stroke or a spinal cord injury. Left untreated, muscle spasms can become very painful, as well as create joint problems, muscle shortening, and lead to long-term issues with posture, limb movement, and gait. Normally your brain sends electrochemical messages to your muscles to make them contract and move. These messages are transmitted from a nerve to the muscle by a substance called acetylcholine. When too much acetylcholine is released, muscles become overly active and spasm or tense up. Botox blocks the nerve from releasing acetylcholine. As a result, the muscle spasms stop or are greatly reduced, providing relief of symptoms. Botox is used to prevent headaches in adults with migraines. It is also used to treat increased muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist, and finger muscles in people with upper limb spasticity. Botox is used to treat abnormal head position and neck pain that happens with cervical dystonia. The relief patients feel from one treatment of Botox may last for several months. Treatments can be continued as long as the condition responds to Botox, and the patient does not have any serious allergic reactions or other significant side effects. Because symptoms can change over time, the amount of and duration of relief a patient experiences can vary. Your physician will decide if Botox is right for you.
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