What is used to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles can also help with chronic pain control, including back and nerve pain. Pain management and other alternative uses for Botox have shown how versatile and effective the treatment is.
What is Botox?
Botulinum Toxin (Botox) was originally approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat muscle contractions caused by cervical dystonia. Doctors knew that Botox could help relax muscles before it exploded into a cosmetic procedure. Botox does that by blocking the neurotransmitters that tell muscles to contract. No signal from the neurotransmitters, no contraction, no tension – no pain.
The pain types, which are suitable for this treatment, include those where muscle spasm and tenderness are clearly definable, in the regions of the head, neck, and back. Botox has been used for the past 40 years in the treatment of excessive muscle stiffness, spasticity, and dystonia. Recently, it has been used to treat various types of neuropathic pain.
How does Botox work?
Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine from the junction between a nerve and muscle. Normally acetylcholine binds to its receptor at this junction and causes a muscle contraction. When Botox is injected to an area of chronic muscle spasm, acetylcholine is blocked, allowing the muscle to relax.
Botox is administered by an injection directly into the desired site. The onset of relief occurs in about a week and typically lasts 3 months. The intent of Botox in this case, is to serve as a temporary relief from pain, not as a fix or cure. After three months, the muscles may become overactive again, so four injections per year may be needed.
Botox injections are typically used to treat:
- Muscle pain arising from chronic muscle spasm
- Neck pain in cervical dystonia
- Migraine headaches
- Nerve disorders resulting in blepharospasm
- Myofascial pain
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above and are curious if Botox could help you, get in touch with us.