BOTOX: IT’S NOT JUST COSMETIC

When we hear the word Botox, we immediately think “wrinkle eraser.” What began as a treatment for twitching eye muscles has become one of the most widely used non-surgical cosmetic procedures in the world. Although Botox became an overnight sensation as the “new fountain of youth,” it continues to be very effective for the same conditions it was first approved to treat.

Botox was first licensed by the FDA in 1989 for the treatment of Benign Essential Blepharospasm, a condition that causes involuntary muscle spasms around the eye and other symptoms like ocular pain, dry or watery eyes, and increased blinking. Although most people will suffer from stress-related eye twitching at some point in their lives, BEB sufferers seek treatment because they find that it interferes with their daily activities. Most are surprised to find that their doctor will recommend Botox to relieve their symptoms. “Once it is recommended, the patient is told that Botox will be used as the medication that will paralyze the muscles and stop the unwanted contractions,” explains Araceli Gaona, Clinic Supervisor at The Center for Pain Management. “Their initial reaction is, ‘I thought that was only cosmetic!’ ”

The Center for Pain Management uses Botox to treat many of their patients that come in with painful and debilitating conditions. “We can use Botox for spasticity, cervical dystonia – a neurological condition that is caused by muscle contractions that twist the muscles -, chronic migraines, blepharospasm, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy,” explains Gaona. “In our office, we use it mostly for cases of severe spasticity and chronic headaches.”

Botox, or Botulinum Toxin, is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum that paralyzes a specific muscle or groups of muscles by blocking chemical changes on nerve endings. “For chronic headaches, it is injected into muscles of the forehead, the side and back of the head, and the neck and shoulders, to produce a partial temporary chemical ‘denervation’ of the muscle,” explains Araceli Gaona. “This causes the muscles to become too weak to be able to contract.” Because Botox is injected directly into the muscle group, there is very little absorption of this toxin in the bloodstream. The effects of the injection last anywhere from 6-9 months and then it needs to be reapplied.

The Center for Pain Management has been providing innovative pain management treatments like this one for over 20 years. After completing an M.B.B.S. from Rajshahi Medical College in Bangladesh and receiving additional training in anesthesiology and pain management from Boston University and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Tajul Chowdhury established this interdisciplinary pain management facility in the Rio Grande Valley. The clinic quickly became one of the leading treatment centers for nerve pain, arthritis, cancer-related pain, migraines, shingles, herniated discs, injuries, and many other types of pain. Although CFPM is located in Edinburg, Texas, patients travel from all over the state to find relief for their conditions.

Dr. Chowdhury’s mission of bringing new options to replace more traditional and invasive treatments is being fulfilled in this area. From Botox and Kyphoplasty to Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression (MILD), The Center for Pain Management is proud to help patients manage their pain using the least invasive and safest procedures available in the industry. Pair that with excellent and compassionate care and you’ll find out why people keep coming back.

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