Pain management is now a major field of study and specialty for doctors, as it can affect patients on many levels, from mental well-being to how effective the healing process will be. And because of that, medical science is exploring many avenues that can help the human body deal with pain, either by making it more manageable, or removing it entirely.
What are Botox injections?
Botox injections are made from the bacterium known as clostridium botulinum. This is also known as Botulinum Toxin Type A. It has beneficial effects in very small doses. It has been used for blepharospasm in patients 12 years old and older. It is now seen as a way to deal with myofascial pain (overactive muscle activity).
How does Botox work for pain management?
When your body is functioning normally, your brain sends electrical impulses to your muscles, making them contract so you can perform a particular movement. One of the chemical messengers used for the neural command is acetylcholine, which can be blocked by Botox. If the patient is experiencing muscle spasms, then this can significantly reduce or even stop the spasms.
Do remember that Botox is not a cure, and that it only treats a painful symptom – in this case, muscle spasms. The effects of the Botox injection, however, can last up to six months. This provides immense relief for the patient.
How is Botox administered for pain management?
Botox is injected directly into the affected muscle using a very fine needle. One to three injections are usually given in one treatment, depending on the analysis given by the doctor or a specialist in pain management.
How long will it take for Botox to work? How long will it last towards alleviating pain?
The full effects of Botox will take around a week and a half to manifest, but significant results can be felt in as little as three days.
As mentioned before, the Botox effects will last for at most six months, and from the third month onward, the patient will feel a gradual fading away of the pain-relieving effects. It will be up to your doctor to determine how long before you can be given a Botox shot again, and how much you should be given.
Are there any limitations with Botox use for pain management?
Botox can technically be used indefinitely, as it has been established as safe for long-term treatment. However, it is important to take note of the following:
- Subsequent Botox injections may not have as dramatic an effect as the first one.
- Muscle identification is important for maximum effect, so the first shot may not have a full effect if the muscle that has been targeted is not the exact muscle that needs Botox.
- Do keep note if you have side effects, and tell them to your doctor, so that the next dose can be adjusted accordingly.
- The longer you can last between treatments, the better, since the body can build up antibodies against Botox. Time in between treatments should not be less than three months, and the absolute minimum amount required for effectiveness can lessen adverse reactions in the future.