How Botox Injections Can Help Children with Muscle Spasticity

Botulinum Toxin Type A is better known as Botox, a bacterium that is injected into adults and children who have spasticity (increased tone) in their muscles. Spasticity can be caused by neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy, motor neuron disease and inflammatory myopathy. Spasticity in muscles can make them stiff to move and can result in the muscles shortening. If left untreated this can lead to permanently reduced range of movement and loss of function.

Child with crutches

How Does Botox Work?

In order to move our limbs our muscles have to contract and relax. Our muscles contract as a result of a chemical called acetylcholine being released. Injecting Botox directly into the muscles blocks the release of this chemical and allows the spastic muscle to relax and be stretched. The Botox takes effect after a few days and its effects can last for 3-4 months although its effects are not permanent. Your consultant will decide if Botox is a suitable treatment option and which muscles need to be injected. The following may indicate to a consultant that Botox could be a good treatment option:

  • Reduced range of movement/muscle length
  • Increased pain and discomfort due to contractures
  • Difficulty toileting and bathing your child due to muscle tightness
  • Difficulty with putting on orthotics or if they are rubbing
  • Deterioration in function or mobility due to muscles becoming tight e.g. more crouched gait when walking
  • To avoid the need for tendon lengthening surgery

Physiotherapy and Botox Injections

Following Botox injections for muscle spasticity it is important to commence intense physiotherapy to gain the maximum results. Our physiotherapists will closely monitor your child’s range of movement and muscle length and provide your child with a stretching programme, which may include splinting or serial casting. Physiotherapy can then also focus on strengthening the weak muscles that can sometimes be hidden by the increased tone in muscles. The physiotherapy will be very goal focused and aim to not only increase muscle length and prevent deformity but also to improve function and/or mobility.

Child with CP

 

Is your child looking to commence physio following a treatment of Botox injections? At Physiocomestoyou, our paediatric physiotherapists are able to provide a high standard of holistic assessment and treatment based on the latest evidence based research and literature to help them achieve their goals. Contact us today to arrange an appointment for your child with one of our specialist paediatric physiotherapists.