KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Many people associate Botox with wrinkle treatment, but the medicine is also used to treat migraines and neck pain.
Doctors at East Tennessee Children's Hospital Rehabilitation Center have used it to help children with cerebral palsy.
Dr. Nadine Trainer has been giving Brad Gandy injections in his legs. The Madisonville teen has cerebral palsy and started getting Botox injections when he was only three years old.
"It's extremely helpful," Brad said. "When I was younger I used to cry a lot more because I wasn't ready for it, I guess. But now as you get older, you start to think of what this really does for you."
Botox makes Brad more comfortable in his wheelchair.
"It has been the very best thing for us," Brad's mother, Sandra, said. "His legs would be extremely tight and then after he would have the shot, after about two or three weeks, then they were much more relaxed."
Unlike cosmetic use which typically lasts a few months, Botox therapy in patients with spastic muscles can last much longer between injections.
"If I change a muscle that's preventing the arm to move, for example, and now that muscle is loose, I don't necessarily have to re-inject them in three months, or four months, or a year later," Dr. Trainer said. "You have to know what you're injecting, why you're injecting it, and what your goals are."
Not everyone with stiff or spastic muscles is a candidate for Botox therapy. But the treatment has worked well for David Nuyen, another cerebral palsy patient who receives injections in his arms.
Dr. Trainer has been using Botox on patients for about 15 years. She likes the results and said there are no serious side effects.