Botulinum Toxin for Upper Limb Spasticity


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According to Allergan, around one million Americans suffer from Upper Limb Spasticity, a condition that is usually the result of a stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, 795,000 strokes occur and around 144,000 die as a result of a stroke. During a stroke, usually as a result of a clogged blood vessel, oxygenated blood cannot get to the brain and the brain cells die. After the stroke they may be affected with Upper Limb Spasticity, where due to over communication from the brain your muscles in your arms, elbows, wrists and fingers are permanently stiffened. In some cases a sufferer may have their arm pinned to their chest, unable to release the muscle’s grip without an exerted force or immense pain. Upper Limb Spasticity can occur within weeks, months or years after you suffer from a stroke. Since this condition affects a small number of people and the time in which the symptoms are recognised varies significantly it wrongly goes unnoticed and untreated. According to the National Stroke Association in a survey of five hundred and four stroke survivors in America, 58% of those five hundred and four report having developed Upper Limb Spasticity. Although this condition is not life threatening it can prevent sufferers from living a normal life and support is always needed from friends and family at almost all points of the day. However, Upper Limb Spasticity can be treated with Botulinum Toxin.

Botulinum Toxin works to stop information travelling from the brain to the infected muscles, thus preventing movement and promotes relaxation in the muscles. In 2005 the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that Botulinum Toxin significantly helps those suffering from Upper Limb Spasticity. Botulinum Toxin is injected into the infected muscle the neurotoxins in the treatment blocks the signals that controls excess activity in the muscles. Therefore, the muscle should relax and allow normal movement in the upper body. Botulinum Toxin for Upper Limb Spasticity was approved by the FDA in 2010.


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