Botox for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/22/03

Botox for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

You probably know by now that a lot of folks are using Botox to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. NewsChannel 11 told you about new research that has shown it not only helps relieve excessive sweating, but Botox makes the sweat less stinky.

NewsChannel 11 received an interesting e-mail from a woman who says all that stuff is trivial -- that people should know that Botox is a lifesaver when it comes to reducing chronic pain. She's right.

Botox has been used to treat migraines for some time, and now, carpal tunnel syndrome may be the next condition to benefit by Botox. Doctors at New York's Hospital for Joint Diseases are using small amounts of botulism toxin to treat carpal tunnel, a condition in which repetitive motion brings pain, numbness, and weakness to the hand.

In this procedure, the doctor slips a syringe into the wrist which is hooked up to a speaker to listen for the clicking of the injured nerve, and that's when Botox is injected to paralyze the muscle and relieve the pain.

"The results that I've seen are remarkable, but at the same time, bizarre. I cannot explain it. That's why it's prompting us to carry out a study," says Dr. Marco Pappagallo, a neurologist.

The final results of the study aren't in yet, but Tatiana had the botulism injection in her wrist more than a year ago, and she's convinced it works.

"I do all the time like this, so I need to have very good flexibility and touch. I'm okay. No problems. I keep my job," says Tatiana, a carpal tunnel patient.

Botulism injections can cause pain and stiffness in the hand, but that usually goes away in about a week. Doctors haven't seen any other side effects -- so far. The study will be complete in April.

If botulism works, you could see doctors using it routinely to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the main nerve to the hand becomes squeezed or pinched at the wrist. Pain medication or physical therapy can help, but patients with severe carpal tunnel syndrome often need surgery.

If you want more information about the carpal tunnel botox study, you can call the Hospital for Joint Diseases at (212) 598-6166. This study is a placebo-controlled clinical trial for adults with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome.

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