Botox injections have been used by many musicians to help control the symptoms of focal dystonia.
They do this by blocking the contractions in affected muscles.
There do seem to be some side effects which users should be be aware of, and this, along with the price and regular need for injections, has seen botox become a last resort for many in the treatment of focal dystonia.
The pianist Leon Fleisher was able to return to two hand repertoire after receiving botox injections in his right hand.
Scottish piper Stuart Cassells was overjoyed to be playing again after botox injections in his arm
The most common problem with Botox injections seems to be one of accuracy. Unless injections pinpoint the exact muscles that are affected by the FD, they will have no effect.
Worse they could cause the paralysis of neighbouring muscles, as has been reported by some sufferers. Studies recommend EMG guided injections, as this method can be highly accurate.
Botox is essentially a poison, but the toxicity is of such a low level it is generally harmless. Inflammation can occur in the point of injection. When Botox has been injected in the neck to treat cervical dystonia, there have been reports of migraine, dizziness and flu like symptoms by some patients.
The effectiveness of Botox lasts only two to three months and regular injections are needed. Prolonged use can cause muscle deterioration.