“It is better to look marvelous than feel marvelous.”
This wonderful cliche made famous in the 80’s is no longer the case when it comes down to addressing our personal well-being. Many advances since then have allowed the Botox® injection which was typically used for cosmetic enhancement as a possible pain solution. This of course is dependent on the cause of the pain.
What Type of Pain Responds Well to Botox® Injections?
There are many pain syndromes that are primarily caused by chronic muscular spasms and this group of pain syndromes can respond to Botox® injections extremely fast as their primary affect it to inhibit muscles from contracting.
Muscle contractions are caused by the release of a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine. For most people, this chemical performs as expected. However, some individuals release excess acetylcholine for a variety of reasons, leading to a painful condition commonly known as a muscle spasm.
Muscle spasms can cause pain directly in the muscle affected but they can also cause neuropathies such as sciatica depending on the muscle which is in spasm. As you may have noticed when someone has received Botox® injections cosmetically, it appears that they can’t move the muscles in the area where they received the injections and the same principle is applied here. This chemical prevents the release of acetylcholine, temporarily halting the occurrence of the painful muscle spasms.
Although Botox® treatments cannot cure muscle spasms, these treatments often lead to a dramatic reduction in symptoms. Each treatment lasts for approximately three months; at that point, the potency of the original injection begins to wear off, and the nerves may resume their overactive release of acetylcholine. However, you can continue your Botox® treatments indefinitely as long as you have not experienced any significant negative side effects.
Are the Treatments Safe?
Botox® has been the subject of many clinical trials, and it has been approved as a treatment for muscle spasms by more than 70 national health agencies. Over the past 12 years, more than a million patients have received Botox® injections.
What Conditions Can Be Treated with Botox®?
Botox® is used to treat several conditions related to muscle spasms, including:
- Spasmodic Torticollis: twisting and writhing movements of the neck
- Writer’s Cramp: difficulty writing because of excessive muscle contraction of the forearm
- Spasticity from stroke: including painful contractions of the arm and leg
- Spasticity: from cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injury
- Hemifacial spasm: Repetitive twitching of onehalf of the face
- Tic disorders
- Blepharospasm: forced eyelid closure
Several other conditions may also be helped by Botox® including:
- Hyperhidrosis: excessive sweating of the palms, face, or arm pits
- Anal fissures
- Achalasia: an excessively tight stomach valve
- Strabismus: crossed eyes
- Headaches: especially those beginning at the base of the head
What Happens During a Botox® Treatment?
Using a fine-gauge needle, the doctor will inject Botox® directly into the appropriate muscle. The doctor will determine the correct location for your injection as well as the proper dosage.
Will I Experience Pain During My Treatment?
Some patients have reported minor pain in association with their treatment, but most patients report no pain. Botox® is combined with a neutral saline solution to create as painless an injection as is possible.
Common Side Effects of a Botox® Treatment
When they occur, the side effects are usually mild and may include excessive muscle weakness near the area of the injection. Because the effects of Botox® always wear off, so do any side effects of muscle weakness. Bleeding and infection are always risks when the skin is punctured, but they are rare. Allergic reactions are also extremely rare.
Concerns and questions are always happily addressed by our doctors.
Are Botox® Injections the Right Option for My Pain?
To determine if Botox® injections would be an appropriate treatment option for your condition it would be essential to understand your individual case. When a person is in pain we understand that they want to be out of pain as soon as possible and we are able to offer a full range of pain reliving methodologies. What is most important is that we find the treatment which best suits your particular situation.
We Can Help!
Our expert integrated physical medicine team has been brought together for just this reason. Our focus is to help you find the best solution for your pain and health challenges. So call today and take the first step in gaining the quality of life you deserve.
Dr. Connor McCormick