Use of Botox in Pain Management
Botox may not be thought of as a traditional pain relief treatment, but in fact its uses in managing pain have been known within the medical community for several years now, enabling its use, particularly for pain where traditional remedies and pain management techniques have not been successful.
Traditional View of Botox
Botox is, in the perception of many people, an anti-wrinkle treatment that has proved popular over the last five years or so. Botox is now widely available as a beauty treatment and is the anti-wrinkle treatment of choice not just for the rich and famous, but for many people, both men and women who choose to stave off wrinkles for as long as possible.
Botox is also less well known as being a remedy for over perspiration. It can help the sweat glands to stop operating, when it is injected into the armpits. However, it is not well known as an aid in pain management. Yet it can provide almost immediate and relatively long pain relief for a number of conditions, including headaches, treating some of the effects of Parkinson’s Disease, lower back pain management, muscle pain in the neck/head, as well as bladder dysfunction and a number of other conditions. It can even be used to treat women (in particular) who are experiencing chronic foot pain, as a result of wearing high heeled shoes on a regular basis.
What is Botox?
Botox is referred to as botulinum toxin. This is in effect a very complex mix of different proteins, which has a paralysing effect on certain parts of the body. When injected into wrinkles, it causes slight paralysis, that stops wrinkles being evident. However, in layman’s terms, it is precisely this paralysis that enables pain to be managed through the use of Botox. The ‘offending’ muscles and nerves are effectively paralysed by the Botox, which can provide relief for 3-4 months.
Botox originates from the bacteria that is the source of botulism, which causes food poisoning in humans, but the amounts used in Botox injections are minimal and there are no risks of ‘catching’ botulism from Botox injections.
Benefits of Botox
Botox cannot actually penetrate the ‘blood- brain’ barrier, meaning that it has virtually no direct effect on a person’s central nervous system. This means that it is not a ‘dramatic’ treatment that runs the risk of serious contra-indications.
It is a minimally invasive procedure, so can be beneficial where invasive procedures are not advised.
The effects can last for several months, meaning that it provides long term pain relief for the patient.
Limits of Botox Applications
There are a number of conditions where Botox may in fact be highly successful in pain management, but there are also conditions where its use is not advised. These conditions include serious, chronic conditions, including epilepsy, diseases or conditions that affect the muscles in the body as a whole, some neurological conditions and anyone with significant breathing problems.
However, your pain management consultant will be able to provide more detailed advice about whether or not Botox is actually right for you and for your specific pain condition.