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Posts Tagged ‘Living With A Spinal Cord Injury! Botox and Spasticity’

Yesterday I was injected with botox – quads, hamstrings, and now adductors.

Most people think wrinkles and facial smoothing when Botox is mentioned. In fact, botox was first used medically over thirty years ago to treat eye muscle disorders. It’s also used medically to correct wry neck, and more recently to reduce severe muscle stiffness and spasm associated with stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. It is not expected to p rovide a permanent solution, and regular, on-going injections are usually required.

In my case botox seems to be an effective way of treating the severe spasm and tone that characterize my injury. This spasticity is not easily apparent, particularly when I’m standing, although involuntary flexion and extension happens after I’ve been sitting for a while. For anyone who’s interested there is quite a good account of the complexities of treating muscle spasticity at http://sci.washington.edu/info/forums/reports/spasticity.asp

My left calf has had three or four injections at four monthly intervals and now has no stiffness. The last injection was eight months ago. I stretch the muscles every day, and hopefully the Botox will have initiated a response that is now permanent, providing I keep stretching. The alternative was surgery which I seem to have avoided … Go me!

I hope to continue to confound conventional science, and permanently reduce muscle tone after a few more courses of botox. This won’t happen on it’s own, but the botox will provide a window of opportunity during which I can work with physios and a personal trainer to stretch spastic muscles, and recruit and work any underlying voluntary muscles. These voluntary muscles can be masked by the overwhelming strength of spastic muscles that hide any potential functional movement.

So, although my facial wrinkles remain unbotoxed and broadcast to the world that here is a woman of character (these wrinkles and lines are, after all, the result of much laughter, worry and deep thought) my botoxed limbs may also have much to say about their owner.

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