Who wouldn’t want to look twenty years younger? Enter Botox, the greatest thing since apple pie and you too can wash away the last few decades of sun, smoking and whatever else nasty you have done to your skin-right? Wrong! Botox, which uses a toxin available from a very common bacteria, works only when wrinkles are caused by muscle contractions. It does not work for wrinkles caused by sun, thinning of the skin and trauma. Furthermore, the toxin only works for 3 months after which the paralyzed nerves recover and voila! The dreaded wrinkles are back.

Yet Botox and medications similar to it are not only used for wrinkles, they are also helpful in other conditions. Consider blepharospasm. This is a bothersome condition (and one with a very long, hard to spell name)  in which the eyelid muscles constantly twitch. Botox paralyzes the muscles and as such stops the twitching. Other conditions associated with muscle twitching include cervical dystonia. Neck muscles contract and spasm results. Again, Botox paralyzes the muscles and the patient is better.

Remember that Botox only works temporarily, which means that, just as in the case of wrinkle treatment, repeated injections are needed. However, at least for blepharospasm, the muscles are quite tiny, so the treatment works a lot longer.

Botox contains the A toxin and there are several other medications on the market which have  different type of toxins. The mechanism of action is the same however. By the way, the toxin is potentially deadly and should only  be administered by physicians or other medical providers specifically trained in its use. Botulism, which is caused by the toxins of the bacteria is almost always fatal. Of course, Botox only has a fraction of the deadly toxin.

While Botox is not a fountain of youth, it may help certain patients not only with wrinkle issues ( and who doesn’t have wrinkle problems?), but also those who suffer from diseases associated with muscle spasm.