According to spine surgeons in Los Angeles, neck pain ranks right up there with back pain as one of the most common medical complaints in the United States. While there is rarely a serious medical cause, some people do have persistent neck pain that doesn’t respond to rest, the application of heat and ice, and other conservative treatments. One remedy gaining acceptance among some neck pain sufferers is the use of Botox injections.
A study of 25 people with chronic neck pain found that 40 percent of the participants reported a reduction in their pain when Botox injections were combined with physical therapy. More research is needed to determine how effective Botox alone would be for neck pain, although it appears to be a more successful treatment when combined with PT.
In order to determine where to place the injections, patients need to undergo image testing to pinpoint the affected area with some degree of certainty. Botox, the brand name of a botulinum toxin, works by blocking signals from nerves to muscles. It also relaxes the affected muscles and surrounding tissues to further minimize pain.
Botox injections may allow neck muscles to strengthen during PT sessions by minimizing neck spasms. The treatments are highly localized, allowing the affected area to be treated directly similar to what’s done with lumbar epidural steroid injections for lower back pain. Botox injections may also reduce the need for pain-relievers and, in turn, reduce the risk of experiencing side effects sometimes related to those medications.
Patients are usually asked to stop taking aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs prior to receiving Botox to minimize bruising from the injections. While rare, some patients may experience headaches following the procedure. Pregnant women should not have Botox injections.
Patients aren’t likely to experience permanent relief until the true source of their neck pain is identified and treated. For individuals with pain affecting their quality of life, however, it’s a temporary solution that could provide a much-appreciated break from neck pain. Results from Botox injections last about 3 to 4 months.
If conservative treatments are ineffective, other procedures, like minimally invasive spine surgery, may help relieve pain and preserve more range of motion than traditional surgeries. To learn more, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration by calling (310) 828-7757 today.