Botulinum Toxin Injections
Botulinum Toxin, also known as Botox, derives from the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. Botox is thought to act in two distinct ways. Firstly, it has a direct pain killing effect as a result of blocking the central transmission of pain impulses from the periphery to the brain. Secondly, it also acts on muscle nerves by resetting the level of contraction and thereby reducing muscle spasm.
Whilst the number of clinical indications for Botox has escalated dramatically over the last five years it is not a new drug or novel technique. It has been used cosmetically for around fifteen years, and some of its use in pain alleviation was discovered from cosmetic use.
Botox has few side effects, and unlike other pain relief treatments Botox does not cause stomach upset, light headedness, failure to concentrate or liver or kidney toxicity and has few cases of allergic reactions. Complications are usually related to dosage so it is vital Botox injections are carried out by an experience and competent individual.
Botox begins working approximately two weeks after being injected, and is currently used in the UK to treat cervical dystonia, when the neck muscles contract involuntarily, migraines and various eye conditions such as strabismus, cross-eyes, lazy-eyes and walleye, and blepharospasm, the involuntary closing of the eyelids.
Studies are now emerging indicating the effectiveness of Botox in treating neck pain and lower back pain associated with muscle spasm and piriformis syndrome.