Botox credited with helping Iraqi war vet walk again

(NBC) - A Houston man is crediting Botox with helping him walk again.

Most people know Botox as an injectable wrinkle filler. Now, the cosmetic treatment is being used on patients with upper and lower limb spasticity.

"I get it in my chest, on my back, my arm and on my leg," said Javier Negrete.

Negrete was in a bad car wreck three years ago. He was in a coma and suffers from traumatic brain injury.

He uses a wheelchair to get around and undergoes extensive physical therapy every day.

Negrete is now able to walk with a cane and stand alone. The 26-year-old credits some of his progress to Botox injections.

"When I first heard about Botox, I thought it was only to reduce wrinkles. But now I'm actually glad it is used for medical purposes," said Negrete.

After his accident, Negrete suffered from severe muscle spasms that tightened up his arms, legs and feet.

"His whole left side of his body was basically tight arms down to his legs, preventing him from getting out of his chair, preventing him from standing and actually being home by himself. He's been my project for years," said Dr. Stephanie Sneed, Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury Program director for Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

Sneed has been treating Negrete since 2006 and is proud of his determination and positive attitude.

"What I admire about him is his patience with the process because it's not a miracle drug. It is just a part of the whole rehabilitation process," said Sneed.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved Botox to treat muscle spasms.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved