Botox an effective treatment for dystonia


Botox is often used in plastic surgery, but it's also an effective treatment for a neurological disorder called dystona.

"It's the pulling of their fingers in so it might stay like that," said Dr. Vikram Shivkumar of the Department of Neurology at Marshall Health, describing a condition called dystonia, caused by irregular brain cell activity.

"They get an abnormal contradiction of the muscle of the neck and shoulders, so they can get a twist movement of the neck where the neck is constantly turned to one side or can turn forwards and backwards as well," said Dr. Shivkumar .

He says the condition is not life threatening but it's disabling and painful. Stress makes it worse. Some will get it as part of other conditions like Parkinson's Disease. "Writers cramp for example in the hand, where people who write a lot over the years can get dystonia in your hand where once they start writing certain might go into a bad posture thus effecting you're your handwriting to a point where cannot write legibly," said Dr. Shivkumar.

Dr. Shivkumar says Botox is an effective treatment for dystonia. Those with the condition get injections in the muscle that lasts a couple months. "It blocks the release of certain chemicals which are necessary for our muscles to contract, so it acts by weakening the muscles," said Dr. Shivkumar.

As the only movement disorder specialist in West Virginia, Dr. Shivkumar advises don't let dystonia go untreated. "People can get pinched nerves in the neck that can cause them pain in their arms because of that. It can sometimes compress the spinal cord if it is really intense and stays like that," said Dr. Shivkumar.

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