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Botox helps tennis elbow pain

27th April 2010

People who suffer from tennis elbow may be able to reduce their pain using Botox, an injectable toxin used to smooth wrinkles in people's faces, according to a new Iranian study.


The researchers found that patients who got Botox injections in order to paralyse their finger muscles were able to significantly reduce their pain.

Tennis elbow, which is also known as lateral epicondylitis, is characterised by pain or tenderness on the outer part of the elbow, or lateral epicondyle.

People who have tennis elbow often report that they have pain when gripping things, or when moving their wrists, especially when lifting or pouring liquids.

Javad Mortazavi of the Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex in Tehran, Iran said that tension of the extensor muscles on the site of inflammation prevented healing.

He said that using Botox to paralyse extensor muscles in people's fingers was the best way to allow the muscles to gradually heal.

He said that the reason why the treatment is so effective seemed to be the precise location of the injection itself, which ensured proper paralysis of the neuromuscular junction plates if done correctly.

For the study, the researchers gave botulinum toxin to 48 patients who had tennis elbow.

None of the patients had been able to benefit from previous treatments.

Before injecting the toxin, the researchers measured the length of each patient's forearm, in order to develop a systematic way of finding the best injection site.

The researchers said that using the same injection site for each person was not the best way to reduce pain and increase the hand's ability to heal itself.

In a commentary accompanying the study, Rachelle Buchbinder of Monash University in Australia said that tennis elbow required workers to take sick leave.

She said that some patients may suffer the partial loss of the ability to move their third and fourth fingers, and that people should be aware of the side-effects of using botulinum toxin as a treatment.

All of the study subjects but one experienced weakness in their fingers lasting into the fourth month after injection.

Allan Gordon, director of the Wasser Pain Management Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, said that people receiving the Botox treatment still could not use their hand properly.

He said that he had used Botox to treat patients several years ago, but had stopped using it after noticing the effect on their hands.

Mortazavi said that, since the objective of the Botox treatment was to give the muscles rest during the healing period, he usually encouraged patients not to do activities that might put stress on their extensor muscles.

Gordon said that Botox was often used to treat chronic headaches, although it had never been approved for that use, just as it had never been approved for treating tennis elbow.

"Botox" is the brand name for botulinum toxin, a highly neurotoxic protein, which is distributed by Allergan, Inc.

Botox injections have been approved for treating neck muscle contractions and muscle spasticity.


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Article Information

Title: Botox helps tennis elbow pain
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 14727
Date Added: 27th Apr 2010


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