Botox, also known as Botulinum Toxin, is a medication that lasts for anywhere from 2-6 months, and most commonly for 3 months. It has been shown to relieve pain by relaxing muscles. Sometimes these muscles are the source of the pain. Other times these tight muscles produce pain by clamping down on nearby nerves or contorting joints in uncomfortable ways.
Here are some common ailments for which Botox injections may help:
- Muscle pain arising from chronic muscle spasm
- Neck pain in cervical dystonia
- Migraines and Chronic Headaches
- Specified nerve entrapment syndromes
- Myofascial pain
Botox works by blocking the release of a substance called 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 muscles to relax. It is administered directly to the desired site through injection. Typically it takes a week or two before relief is felt and then the resulting pain relief from the Botox injection lasts on average 10-14 weeks. Four injections per year are generally allowed by most insurance companies.
Patients report very few side effects from Botox Injections for these indications. Some side effects that are often classified as “minor” by most patients who experience them include:
- A day or two of swelling, tenderness and localized pain at the injection site – like a bruise
- Flu-like symptoms that can occur for a few days after the injection
- The feeling of weakness in the treated muscles
If you are interested in learning more about Botox and its positive effects on managing chronic pain, contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Julian.