BOTOX® Therapy for Pain: 5 Questions You Need Answered
You’re used to seeing BOTOX® advertised as a treatment to reduce wrinkles and fine-lines for cosmetic purposes – and it does. Did you know that BOTOX® is also an incredibly effective solution for pain management? When injected into fine lines and wrinkles, BOTOX® essentially blocks the nerve signals in the targeted area which results in a tightening and firming of the skin. For those of you who experience chronic pain, the same nerve de-stimulization and muscle relaxation that BOTOX® provides cosmetically can provide serious and long-lasting relief from pain. Botulinum toxin – the key ingredient in BOTOX® – works by blocking the signals sent to the brain by your nerves so that your nerves can’t tell your brain that you’re experiencing constant, chronic pain. The process is quick – BOTOX® is a lunch-break treatment for most people – and the results could be life-altering for patients who are severely limited by pain.
This probably leaves you with more questions than answers and we’re here to help. Below are five of the most common questions we get about treating pain with BOTOX® with answers to help you make an informed decision about this type of treatment:
1. What types of pain are treated by BOTOX®?
Many types of chronic pain are treated with BOTOX® injections including migraines or other headache disorders, arthritis, back and neck pain, shoulder pain, sciatica or other pain in the legs or hips, chronic muscle pain, neuropathy and diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia pain, myofascial pain, and more. If your specific diagnosis or type of chronic pain is not listed, contact us and we can discuss whether BOTOX® treatment is suitable for you.
2. Does BOTOX® Hurt?
Hardly, if at all. Any type of treatment will vary in discomfort depending upon the pain threshold of the patient but nearly all of our patients compare BOTOX® injections to the pain of tweezing a few hairs or experiencing a papercut. The discomfort is well-tolerated and with especially experienced clinicians performing the injections, discomfort is hardly noticed. Occasionally patients will experience very temporary swelling or soreness at the injection site. If this persists, it may indicate an allergic reaction and a doctor should be notified. For patients who are particularly pain-averse, the target area can be numbed with a topical agent or with ice 20 minutes before the injection to reduce impact.
3. What side effects or risks should I expect with BOTOX®?
Very few. A key benefit to BOTOX® as it compares with other forms of pain management are that it poses no risk of habit-forming, as with narcotic pain medications, and more targeted and comprehensive relief than TENS or other topical treatments. The most common side effect of BOTOX® is muscle weakness at or near the injection site for a period of 3 to 5 days post-treatment. Usually this dissipates without any further intervention.
4. What is the recovery process after BOTOX®?
This varies but typically, no recovery is needed and you can resume your daily activities following treatment. If your BOTOX® injections are treating a large area such as the entire spine or large joint locations such as your hips or shoulders, you may require slightly more recovery – typically no more than 24 hours of rest and limited activity.
5. How much relief can I expect with BOTOX®?
Though it is important to note that your first BOTOX® treatment may not be as effective as every treatment thereafter, it will usually take 10-14 days post-injection to see maximum relief. One of the most beneficial results of BOTOX® is the duration of relief with most patients experiencing freedom from pain – or significant reduction in pain – for three months. Usually BOTOX® injections are administered every three months for 15 months total.
In all, BOTOX® is a relatively low-risk treatment for chronic pain with largely positive results, low recovery times, and long-lasting pain relief. If you are interested in finding out more or to schedule your first consultation with us, contact us today. Our team is standing by to help answer any questions you may have and to help you feel comfortable as you make an important step toward freedom from chronic pain.
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