Botox® is renowned for turning back time by eliminating frown lines and crow’s feet. But long before Botox was used for aesthetics, it was an effective medical treatment for eyelid spasms.
Researchers are still discovering innovative ways to use Botox beyond cosmetics. Now it’s a vital therapeutic tool used by the team here at Regenerative Institute of Newport Beach to relieve different types of chronic pain.
Here’s how Botox works
Botox is short for botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin protein produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. When the botulinum toxin is purified and turned into a high-grade medical product like Botox, it’s a safe and effective therapeutic protein.
Botox delivers outstanding results by stopping nerves from releasing neurotransmitters. We can precisely inject Botox to block nerves that send pain signals to the brain, or we can target nerves responsible for muscle contractions.
Botox as a potent tool for pain relief
When it comes to treating pain conditions, the more tools we have, the more we can fully customize your treatment to provide optimal pain relief. We use Botox injections in a variety of medical conditions, including:
Migraines are one of the most severe headaches you can experience. They cause intense pain that lasts a minimum of four hours. Sometimes the pain persists up to six miserable days, along with other debilitating symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light and smells.
Migraines develop when something goes wrong with the way your brain interacts with sensory nerves. We use Botox to stop nerves from sending migraine pain signals to your brain.
When Botox stops nerves from communicating by blocking neurotransmitters, pain networks in your brain aren’t activated.
Although these injections relieve pain, the real beauty of Botox is that it prevents migraines. It won’t eliminate all your migraines, but you’ll see a significant reduction in the number of headaches.
Botox is approved for chronic migraines, which means 15 or more migraines monthly. Our treatment protocol begins with two treatments spaced 12 weeks apart.
You may notice an improvement in about four weeks, but optimal results often don’t appear until after the second injection. Since Botox gradually wears off, you’ll continue to receive injections every 12 weeks to reduce migraines.
Cervical dystonia is a very painful condition that occurs when the neck muscles involuntarily contract.
Botox, which is the only effective treatment currently available for cervical dystonia, lessens neck pain within two weeks. You’ll need ongoing injections about every three months to maintain the results.
Lower limb spasticity
Lower limb spasticity occurs when muscles stiffen and hurt due to continual muscle contractions. Spasticity develops when the brain or spinal cord is damaged, interrupting nerve signals that control specific muscles. Botox injections relax the overactive muscles and provide relief within a few days of treatment.
Myofascial pain syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome develops from repetitive motion injury or muscle stress that creates a contraction knot in muscle fibers.
These knots, called trigger points, cause local pain, and when they’re pressed, they also cause pain elsewhere in your body. Botox injections may relax the knotted muscles in the trigger point and relieve your pain.
Botox for lower back pain?
While Botox is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat migraines, cervical dystonia, and spasticity, it’s used off-label for myofascial pain syndrome and other conditions, perhaps lower back pain.
Off-label use refers to prescribing a drug for a use that hasn’t received FDA approval. Keep in mind, however, that once the FDA approves a drug for any use, health care providers are allowed to prescribe the drug for unapproved uses when they determine it’s medically appropriate.
When it comes to off-label use of Botox, researchers are constantly studying whether it’s effective for different health conditions. For example, studies show that Botox may relieve lower back pain and reduce the duration of tension headaches.
At Regenerative Institute of Newport Beach, we stay up-to-date with the latest research and the most innovative ways to relieve your pain. If you’d like to learn more about how we use Botox, call or book an appointment online.