A look at the use of Botox in pain management.
Botox is not usually the first treatment that the general public think of when they think about pain management. But Botox can be extremely useful in helping to lower pain and it is especially useful in cases where conservative or traditional treatments have not been particularly successful.
Botox works in a complex manner but to bring it down to baseline, Botox works by effectively paralysing the muscles and nerves and they are therefore rendered incapable of sending pain signals.
Despite the fact that Botox is now used to treat a variety of pain conditions, some people have concerns about Botox and almost do not believe in the fact that clinical trials have taken place and these indicate that well over 50% of patients undergoing a Botox treatment, find it to be extremely useful.
Botox and Side Effects:
Botox does not have any direct effect on the central nervous system. This means that it does not have a long list of side effects, but some more minor side effects may actually be felt.
Usually if a person is to experience side effects then they will experience them within the first week of the injection being carried out. The side effects tend to be tenderness, swelling or some localised pain in the area where the injection was carried out. Some people also experience nausea or ‘stomach problems’.
Rarely people may feel that they have flu like symptoms. Some people have even reported that they felt anxious about the needle being inserted, or that they had anxiety prior to the procedure, simply because they were worried about the injection.
Generally the most common side effect that is reported (over 10% of patients injected with Botox) is a headache; which is not a life threatening condition.
It is a simple injection and the Botox is not administered into the blood stream (which would be dangerous) it is administered directly into the offending nerves/muscle areas.
Side Effects In Context
The side effects that are listed above are effectively low risk since although there may be an exceptionally almost theoretically only) low risk of paralysis, the general side-effects are minimal and need to be assessed against the potential benefits. For someone who has been in pain for a long time, the risk of having a Botox injection is minimal and the benefits can usually far outweigh the slight risks involved.
Sometimes people who may have a secondary condition may not be able to have Botox or may react less well to the injection; however, this is generally down to the fact that they have a secondary condition, as opposed to the Botox itself being harmful.
Generally the use of Botox is not the first treatment option simply because physiotherapy can often help prevent future pain problems, so this is used, along with pain reducing medication (analgesics) to reduce and manage pain as the primary form of treatment. Should physiotherapy and medication prove unsuccessful, then other options will be discussed, one of which will be Botox.