The wrinkle fighter Botox may serve up a new therapy for the chronic pain of “tennis elbow,” a new study suggests.
Researchers in Hong Kong found that among 60 adults with stubborn cases of tennis elbow, a single injection of botulinum toxin type A relieved some patients’ pain for up to three months.
The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, add to the list of the conditions that are potentially treatable with botulinum toxin -- better known as Botox, one of its brand names.
Though Botox became a household name for its ability to smooth frown lines, the substance has long been used to treat the uncontrolled muscle contractions that mark a number of medical conditions, like cerebral palsy and chronic eye-muscle spasms.
Botox is a purified form of the toxin that causes botulism food poisoning. When injected in small doses, botulinum toxin helps relax spastic muscles by preventing nerve cells from releasing a chemical that triggers muscle contractions.
A number of recent studies have also suggested that Botox may aid chronic pain, including conditions like migraine and lower back and neck pain.