The benefit of combining Botox therapy with intensive rehabilitation

June 1, 2018

It seems like Botox can do more for you than save you from some wrinkles. Did you know that Botox can help you with your stroke rehabilitation? One of the most important aspects of improving your walking ability and overall independence is treating any leg or foot spasticity that you may have due to stroke. Botox can help with reducing these spasms when used with intensive rehabilitation.

 

Botox, or Botulinum toxin type A, is a possible treatment for leg or foot spasticity. Japanese researchers recently conducted a study to see whether its use combined with intensive rehabilitation could help stroke patients. Nineteen patients received one hour of physical therapy and an hour of occupational therapy daily, five days a week in addition to Botox. The patients suffered a stroke at least a year before the study began and were in the chronic phase. None of the patients participating reported complications related to this therapy.

Botox in addition to intense rehab can help patients in the chronic phase after a stroke

Exercises focused on improving walking, strength, endurance, and range of motion. Researchers evaluated the outcomes by using tests that required patients to walk for six minutes or to lift their foot by bending the ankle. Study results showed that the addition of Botox treatment was more effective in improving foot spasticity compared to programs with intensive training alone.

Should you get Botox?

The benefits of Botox therapy are more than just skin deep. Botox can potentially help patients reduce spasticity of their legs and feet so that they can improve walking and gain independence after a stroke. Though the results of this study seem promising, there were only a small number of participants. This means that more research needs to be done to validate these findings. On top of that, Botox is expensive, costing several thousand dollars for a month of treatment. If you’re considering Botox injections, it’s best to talk to your doctor and see if it’s right for you.

 

The lead author of this study is Yuki Uchiyama, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan.

Editorial note:

This is an article in a series of articles describing the benefits of botox in rehabilitation.

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