Botox found to alleviate excruciating nerve pain

Updated: Jun 11, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Botox – popular for its ability to smooth wrinkles when injected into the face, may have another use that goes beyond the cosmetic, say Johns Hopkins researchers.

Botox is a toxin that works by weakening or paralyzing certain nerves and muscles.

In the new study, the researchers found that patients with a painful and debilitating nerve compression disorder called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), reported a significant reduction in short-term pain after receiving a single, low-dose injection of Botox in a muscle located in the neck.

Though the study, was small, researchers say it suggests Botox is a safe, noninvasive alternative to the syndrome`s treatment of last resort: surgery to remove the first rib and sever one of the muscles in the neck.

"There haven`t been many alternatives to the use of surgery to treat this syndrome," says Paul J. Christo, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study`s lead author.

"Botox seems to be an effective treatment that avoids surgery`s obvious
drawbacks, such as its invasive nature and long recovery time," he adds.

The study has been published in the April issue of the journal Pain Medicine.