Mention the word “Botox” and most people think of its use in the world of aesthetics for beauty/wrinkle treatment, however, the medical community is utilizing the same science to treat pain especially after a motor vehicle collision.
Doctors are now harnessing the power of the active ingredient of the outline toxin by administering shots to selected muscles that are responsible for pain or spasticity (spasm) to weaken these overactive muscles. The effect is to allow for greater range of motion in places like the neck or limbs, decrease pain and increase function. Botox injections are temporary in nature and work best when combined with other treatments such as physical therapy. Some of the conditions that medical Botox can treat include chronic migraine headaches, spasticity (an exaggerated muscle tightness sometimes seen after stroke, spinal cord injury or brain injury that can lead to pain and contracture) and cervical dystonia (painful tightness of neck muscles leading to abnormal neck position, posture and affecting day to day activities).
What is the procedure for Botox Injections?
Botox injections only take a short amount of time. The amount of Botox injected per session and the number of treatments are based on the type and severity of the condition but Botox injections should not be administered more frequently than ninety days from the previous injection. The botulinum toxin is combined with preservative-free sodium chloride (saline) to reconstitute the Botox in a liquid solution and provide a medium by which the medication can spread out to reach the target areas. The injection spots are carefully chosen by the doctor to avoid weakening the wrong muscles or causing any avoidable side effects.
Why choose Botox Injections?
Many patients who suffer from chronic migraine headaches are finding it to be an easily tolerated, effective treatment that allows many of them to limit or get off of expensive medications that carry unwanted side effects. Only a small amount of Botox is typically needed for each treatment. Botox injections have proven to be helpful in aiding and treating various conditions where other techniques (e.g. massage, physical or occupational therapy, medications) may have failed. By using Botox injections under an experienced physician’s guidance, patients are better able to participate and get better results from physical therapy and exercise programs, and are able to live their every day lives without constant pain or dysfunction.
What to expect at your first appointment
At your first Botox appointment, you will complete a medical consent form and this initial appointment is about 30 minutes. Your nurse will then talk you through the procedure before starting. It’s normal to feel a little nervous – eat and hydrate before arriving to help reduce any butterflies you might have. Botox is injected directly into the targeted muscle using a fine needle. Most people describe the treatment as ‘slightly uncomfortable’ but it is over in no time!
Immediately after the treatment
Straight after the treatment, you may have a small amount of redness and swelling – this will usually resolve within ten minutes. Most people experience no pain or side effects, a small number get a mild headache after the treatment which can be eased with mild pain relief. You will be given post-treatment information which outlines all of the details and post-care advice.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a physician’s advice. Please always consult your physician for your medical needs.
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