Botox, also known as Botulinum Toxin is a medication that lasts for months 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
- Nerve disorders
- 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 before relief is felt, however the result of pain relief from the Botox injection can last up to three months. Four injections per year are recommended.
Long-term treatment with Botox has been found to be effective. With treatment, improved range of motion occurs, helping maintain flexibility and reducing the recurrence of spasms and chronic pain.
Botox injections have also been proven to be effective in treating migraine and tension type headaches. Patients with migraine headaches who experience headaches frequently throughout the month (14 days or more) and describe their headaches as “debilitating” or ” crushing”, can report a significant decrease in their headache pain by at least 50%.
Patients report very few side effects from Botox Injections for muscle pain. 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.