This post is jointly written with Alika Ziker, Swedish Neuroscience Institute research intern.
Botulinum toxin type-A (Botox) is a naturally occurring toxic substance best known for its use in cosmetics. It is taken from certain bacteria and works by preventing the target muscle from contracting.
Over the last 15 years, several studies have emerged supporting the idea that Botox is also an effective and safe therapy for people who suffer from a loss of muscle control, lower back pain and even migraines. Because multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that attacks the central nervous system, many MS patients suffer from those same conditions, as well as weakness and spasticity. Depending on the individual, the affected muscles may be in the arms, legs or even the muscles surrounding the spine (called paraspinal muscles).
Botox is currently approved for use in spasticity of the upper extremities. However many patients have paraspinal symptoms, but cannot easily access this treatment because there is not enough research to support its effectiveness in that area of the body.
As part of the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center’s summer research program, we will study the effects of Botox on the paraspinal muscles. Our outcome data from clinic includes changes in spasticity and pain among patients who receive Botox. We hope to shed some light on Botox as a viable treatment option for people who suffer from spasticity in the back and lower body.