FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- Using Botox not as it was originally designed to be used is changing patients' lives.
16-year old Josh Zahm didn't walk until he was five.
Born with cerebral palsy, his leg muscles can't stop spasming, meaning his joints contract into an almost fixed position, making it difficult to get around.
So Dr. Tom Lazoff is injecting Josh's hamstrings with eight shots of Botox to weaken the muscles and help them relax.
"In about that time, three weeks, he'll notice decreased pain, decreased muscle spasm or tightness, and increased range of motion," says Lazoff of Physical Medicine Consultants.
This is Josh's second round of Botox -- an alternative to painful surgeries to artificially extend the tendons in his legs as he grows.
"I felt great! Better than I have in years, in fact," Zahm says.
"You have stroke patients, head injury patients, spinal cord injury patients, multiple sclerosis patients that all have an element of muscle spasm that Botox, botulism toxin, can be used for, and used for successfully," says Lazoff.
He says 80% of patients report the treatment is very effective.
The Botox does wear off in three to four months, so ongoing treatments can be necessary.
"I just, sort of like, crouch down over time, and if it gets to a certain point, we need it again," Zahm says.
The $5,000 procedure is typically covered by insurance. And to prevent or significantly delay a surgery and provide a better quality of life? Priceless.
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