Chronic lower back pain is a very common condition, and, in many cases, the pain can be debilitating. There are numerous causes of chronic lower back pain, such as muscle strains, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis. All are capable of causing severe pain that's difficult to treat with conventional medication. Pain medication like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids can have undesirable side effects, and, in many cases, may not provide the necessary amount of relief for someone to live without pain.
If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, you may want to consider Botox. While most associate Botox with cosmetic treatment due to its ability to eliminate wrinkles from increased muscle tone (such as frown lines), its ability to block nerve signals allows it to potentially treat other conditions as well. If you have suffered from chronic back pain and haven't found other treatment avenues to be successful, read on to learn more about how a Botox injection may be able to help.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox is a short moniker for Botulism neurotoxin A, which is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. While a neurotoxin injection might sound frightening, it's entirely safe in the hands of a skilled physician — the effects are localized to one area of your body. When Botulism neurotoxin A is injected into a muscle group, it binds to the nerves responsible for innervating it. The neurotoxin prevents the nerves from receiving acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for muscle function. Once the nerves are blocked, the muscle is effectively paralyzed until the injection wears off in a few months.
How Can Botox Help With Chronic Lower Back Pain?
If your lower back pain is from muscle spasms, then Botox can block nerve signaling to the affected muscle group. Muscles that have received the injection will no longer be able to spasm and cause pain. Once the cause of your pain has been eliminated, you can more easily perform physical therapy exercises designed to strengthen your core muscles.
Ideally, strengthening your core can significantly reduce your back pain and prevent it from recurring. If your back pain does come back once the injection wears off, then your physician can give you another injection to paralyze the spasming muscles again.
One downside of using Botox for back pain is that it's only truly effective at treating pain from muscle spasms. Pain from spinal nerve impingement (which is typically the case if you have a herniated disc or spinal stenosis) will not be completely eliminated. However, the injection can still sometimes help in these cases. Severe pain from a nerve impingement can sometimes lead to your back muscles spasming as a result, so paralyzing your muscles can reduce the overall level of pain you feel by preventing the resultant spasms.
If you think that you'd be a good candidate to receive Botox for back pain, contact a pain specialist in your area who provides it. When you describe what causes your back pain and what it feels like, the pain specialist can often determine whether or not Botox would be an option that will effectively alleviate your pain.