The positive uses that Botox can have on the body are well known within the medical industry, despite it being most commonly thought of as an anti-ageing cosmetic procedure.
Traditionally (indeed prior to its use as an anti-ageing injectible), it was formulated for and administered to those with eye problems, and has continued to be used in ophthalmology as well as helping to treat other ailments. These include hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), overactive bladders and migraines.
Now though, one university professor has discovered a safe way that botulinum toxin (the full term for Botox) can be used to treat chronic pain, which would be tremendous news for those suffering from pain associated with cancer, arthritis and long-term back pain, for example.
The potential for Botox to be used as pain relief is not in itself a brand new discovery – it works by paralysing nerve endings to stop their usual function, so for example, in the case of wrinkles it freezes their movement and with bladder incontinence it stops the signal to urinate – by the same token it is known that it can suppress pain.
Until now though there was no known way that Botox could be administered without it paralysing the area in question and stopping it from functioning altogether, rather than simply paralysing the pain. But now Professor Bazbek Davle from Sheffield University has discovered a way that it might be used.
He and his research team have discovered that when using part of the botulinum poison and sticking it to extracted poison from the tetanus bug (the ‘friendly’ part of it) it can send signals from the painful area to the spinal chord, thus sending a message to the brain to freeze the pain rather than the area that it is administered to.
So far animal trials have proved positive, with large-scale human trials planned next. If these are successful then the drug could be available on the market within three years. It is not expensive, either – it will cost £1000 annually to produce, meaning that it should be readily available on the NHS. For those who suffer from long-term pain it should be welcome relief, especially as it will also negate the need for daily pill-popping.
Cosmetic Courses offer foundation, advanced and bespoke Botox courses to medical professionals seeking to enter the aesthetic industry. See our list of upcoming courses on our homepage.