Can Botox Treat Back Pain?
Can one of America's most popular cosmetic treatments provide powerful relief for chronic back pain? Many doctors and patients say, "yes." Here's what you need to know about back pain, Botox, and the beauty of pain relief.
Botox is a trade name for Botulinum Toxin A; a powerful neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large doses, botulinum Toxin A causes botulism, a rare, potentially life-threatening paralytic disease associated with food poisoning. In controlled medical doses, however, diluted Botox causes a mild paralytic or relaxing effect on muscles. It is most commonly used to decrease muscle contractions in the face and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Botox is also used to treat a variety of non-cosmetic health problems, including overactive bladder problems, extreme sweating, migraines, chronic pain, neuralgias and more. Now, it's being used to treat chronic low back pain associated with muscle spasms.
How It Works
Doctors administer Botox in a series of injections into muscle tissue to block nerve impulses that cause muscles to contract. This might be appropriate for select patients whose chronic back pain is due to muscle spasms that are unrelieved by physical therapy, massage, exercise or other treatments. Botox can provide several months of relief and some reports say it significantly reduces pain.
The downside of using Botox is that it has not been studied for off-label uses, including back pain relief; however, clinical trials are being conducted. Botox is a known poison and while it is currently considered safe for certain uses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for back pain relief. Long term effects of receiving multiple doses of botulinum Toxin A have not been established. Injections may have to be repeated every few months once the muscle-relaxing effect subsides. Botox injections are expensive, and some insurance companies may not cover it.
Could Botox Work for You?
First, your doctor must determine that your pain is muscle related. Patients with arthritis, spinal injury, and pain caused by bone or nerve damage are not considered good candidates to receive Botox injections. Traditional treatments like exercise, massage, and physical therapy are usually enough to relieve muscle spasms in most patients. Some patients' pain is relieved with pain medication (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and/or narcotic pain medications) and others just need time for healing. Less invasive health care practices including chiropractic and acupuncture may also be effective.
If you've tried everything else, however, Botox injections might be the right treatment to break your pain cycle. Get advice from a doctor who specializes in pain management.
Current Clinical Trial for: Botulinum Toxin A for the Treatment of Chronic Lumbar Back Pain
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Ice Falls Can Cause Serious Injuries
- 2. Can Inactivity Act Like a Disease?
- 3. Kale Snack Recipe for Diabetics
- 4. How Running Affects Arthritis
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.