Can Botox Help with my Chronic Pain?
Botox has a long history of helping patients lessen the appearance of their facial lines and wrinkles, but it also has another important benefit – relieving chronic pain. In this blog, the doctors at New York Center for Aesthetic Rejuvenation explain more about Botox and chronic pain.
What are Botox injections?
Botox injections use various forms of botulinum toxin that are injected into specific points. At the levels used, they safely and temporarily paralyze muscle activity, which helps reduce the appearance of some types of facial wrinkles.
Since Botox has been used on so many people for years, it has been discovered that the injections can help with many other conditions, including incontinence and eye twitches. One of the most common uses for Botox, other than improving the appearance of wrinkles, is to help reduce chronic pain.
How can they help with chronic pain?
Treating chronic pain can be difficult and often involves taking medications that may not be completely effective. They may also cause side effects, and in some cases, patients can become addicted to them.
In contrast, Botox can precisely target a specific area. Doctors are able to use Computed Tomography (CT) to find where pain is originating from. Botox injections can then be targeted to block the release of neurotransmitters by the nerve cells. Since a muscle doesn’t receive the signal from the neurotransmitters, it doesn’t contract and therefore doesn’t cause tension or a spasm – or pain.
What type of pain can they help with?
Botox injections can often help with the following types of pain:
- Migraine headaches
- Lower back pain
- Neuropathy (nerve pain)
- Muscle pain from chronic muscle spasms
- Cervical dystonia (a painfully stiff neck)
Who is a good candidate for the procedure?
Patients who are in generally good health – aside from their chronic pain – make good candidate for Botox injections. If you have certain pre-existing medical conditions, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease or myasthenia gravis, Botox may not be recommended. In addition, pregnant or nursing women or children who have muscle spasms shouldn’t receive the injections.
For the majority of people, however, Botox is perfectly safe and appropriate. Your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms, medical history, and any types of treatment you’ve previously tried. He or she can then decide whether to recommend Botox injections in your particular case.
What happens during the procedure?
Your doctor will locate and clean “trigger point” muscles that are active or painful. A thin needle is then used to precisely inject Botox into these muscles to target your pain. A machine may also be used to monitor electrical activity in a muscle when a nerve is stimulated. This will verify that the Botox injection has reached the muscle.
You may need several injections, but the entire procedure will take less than 30 minutes. Afterward, you can immediately resume your normal activities. You may experience redness or numbness at the injection sites, but it doesn’t last for long.
To find out more about Botox and chronic pain, schedule a consultation today with the Brooklyn, Staten Island, or Manhattan office of New York Center for Aesthetic Rejuvenation. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have and will help you determine if the Botox and chronic pain link can be used to alleviate your chronic pain.