The toxin binds to receptors found in skeletal muscle, nerve endings, the brain and some smooth muscle, involuntary muscles found in places such as the bladder. When it binds, the toxin prevents the release of a neurotransmitter chemical called acetylcholine. By preventing the nerves from sending signals to the muscle to contract, Botox essentially paralyzes muscles for several months, said Dr. The drug can also be used to treat migraines and headaches that are resistant to other treatment, as well as uncontrollable blinking, neck spasms and overactive sweat glands, Newman told Live Science. Initially, doctors used Botox to treat the imbalance in eye muscle strength that causes cross-eyes, or strabismus, and spasms in the throat. But ear, nose and throat doctors in the s who were treating spasms in the larynx noticed that the drug also smoothed patients' wrinkles, Newman said.
Happy result: Sue Jones is now free from her eye twitch thanks to a Botox jab. The muscle-freezing effects that eliminate facial movements — and therefore wrinkles — have made them hugely popular. Its cosmetic application only came to light as a side effect. Today Botox remains one of the most effective treatments for the distressing eye condition blepharospasm. The complex condition causes an abnormal twitch or blinking reflex in the eye. The blinking is designed to protect the eye from damage, but in blepharospasm this reflex becomes abnormal and so severe that it is difficult to keep the eye open, limiting vision. While its cause is not known, it affects older people and can run in families.
A number of patients suffer from spasms of the eyelid and face. These are typically aggravated by voluntary facial movements. They are increased with fatigue and emotional stress, and they are suppressed with sleep, relaxation and hypnosis. It often begins with twitches and increases in frequency and severity over time. Eventually this results in a sustained spasm.
A facial tic is an involuntary, uncontrolled spasm in the facial muscles. The tic is unwanted and generally occurs regularly enough to be a nuisance to the person who experiences it. A person can hold in a tic temporarily, in a similar way to holding in a sneeze, but doing so often makes the person increasingly uncomfortable. A few different disorders can cause facial tics, but most of the time facial tics do not indicate a severe medical condition.