Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 31, 2018
When you hear the word Botox, you probably associate it with celebrities who want to look younger. When used correctly, Botox can help eliminate wrinkles and signs of aging, but it also has another purpose in the back pain community. In the right situation, Botox can help to provide relief from certain painful spine conditions.
Now, Botox isn’t going to solve pain caused by a spinal fracture or a bulging disc, but it can help to relieve pain caused by muscle tension. Muscle tension may not sound all that serious, but for individuals who have had numerous back surgeries, or for those who have had muscle tears from high-energy trauma like car accidents, muscle tension can lead to crippling pain. Targeting and treating this muscle tension can allow a person to get along with a pain-free life.
How Botox For Back Pain Works
In the medical world, Botox hasn’t been around all that long, first being approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat severe muscle contractions. The treatment works by blocking the neurotransmitters that tell a muscle to contract. Without this neurotransmission, there is no contraction, and in turn, no pain from spinal muscle tension.
Botox shouldn’t be the first solution for your cervical spine pain, but if physical therapy and other conservative techniques fail, it may help provide relief without the need for surgery. Because it can help to relax muscle groups in the spine, Botox has also been used to treat tension headaches and migraines caused by muscle tension in the region. For the right patient, it can be a miracle treatment where other options have failed.
Not A Perfect Treatment
As we mentioned above, Botox can be a great fit some someone whose spinal muscles have been damaged due to trauma and whose muscle tension is the root source of pain. However, even for these patients, Botox isn’t perfect.
For starters, like other types of pain injections, it’s not a permanent solution. Most patients who receive Botox injections for spinal pain need to have regular injections every 3-6 months. Depending on your situation, it also typically takes multiple injections in the other back and neck for each round of treatment, and while they may not be overly painful, they can cause some discomfort while they are being administered.
Also, some people have run into billing issues when it comes to getting insurance to cover their Botox injection because it isn’t a typical treatment option. There’s limited research on the injection and it doesn’t always have FDA approval depending on its intended purpose, so oftentimes insurance will refuse to cover the injections, which can cost a couple hundred dollars. That being said, if it is billed correctly by the facility and you check with your insurance company, they may cover a good portion of the bill, so it’s worth investigation.
On the flip side, most patients don’t experience any negative side effects after an injection. Only a small minority report feelings of fatigue or tiredness and most experience a decrease in spinal pain almost immediately. This reduction in pain will fade over time, but another round of injections can help keep muscle tension at bay. For the right patient whose crippling muscle tension is getting in the way of everyday life, Botox can be a gamechanger. Talk to your spine specialist if you think you could benefit from learning more about Botox injections for spine pain.