Back Pain: To Botox or Not To Botox

When most of us hear the word Botox, we think of ageing celebrities walking the red carpet with arched eyebrows and frozen smiles. But it’s rejuvenating effects are just one of its uses. Botox has been used to treat excess sweating, neck and shoulder muscle spasms and uncontrolled blinking.

Because Botox can paralyse muscle tissue, some have tried it to combat extreme back pain, hoping to find relief.

Botox is a drug created from a toxin called Clostridium botulinum, which causes a type of food poisoning that can be fatal. Beyond its fantastic results for eliminating wrinkles, when used in tiny amounts, Botox has been proven to be beneficial for certain medical conditions. Among these conditions is cervical dystonia — severe contractions in the neck and shoulder muscles.

Botox: Proceed With Caution

Some patients report success with Botox as a treatment for back pain, and it is generally considered safe in the hands of a skilled physician, conducted at a reputable clinic like at Botox Cairns Jade Cosmetic Clinic. Yet, a concern about the use of Botox is that no medical research indicates that treatment works any better on back pain than a placebo. With no concrete studies to prove its effectiveness, its hard to know how likely Botox is to help you.

Other Concerns

The FDA has not approved Botox as a treatment for back pain. People should not get Botox for back pain who have arthritis, disk-related pain, or pinched nerves. Suitable candidates appropriate for Botox treatment are individuals that have muscular back pain and willing to proceed with Botox treatment at their own risk.

Further to the lack of scientific proof of the effectiveness, Botox can also cause a loss of muscle tone in the injection areas, the complete opposite of what happens in physical therapy.

In the best-case scenario, results are short-lived — as they are with any use of Botox. Each injection lasts only a few months before needing to be repeated and, at several hundred dollars per treatment, Botox can add up to a considerable expense over time.

The bottom line is that while Botox can help with specific medical conditions. If you’ve tried all other measures for back pain relief, including exercise, medication, hot or cold therapy and steroid injections, and want to try another approach before undergoing surgery, speak to your back pain specialist about whether or not you should try Botox.


Ellen Cone