Botulinum toxin (Botox®) is a medication that is mainly known for its cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery usage. It can also be used to reduce the muscle tension and spasm in other conditions, for example chronic headaches, neck aches, back pain, even sciatica due to pelvic muscle spasm. It can assist in improved posturing and walking; and allow better range of motion and a more effective physical therapy. Botox® is a good alternative for patients who have had partial and short lived response to trigger point injections.
A diagnostic trigger point injection (TPI) using a local anesthetic must usually precede the Botox® injection. A significant relief from TPI (even short-term), is usually associated with a positive result from Botox® injection.
The actual procedure is very similar to trigger point injections except for the medication used. In this procedure, very small amounts of the diluted Botox® will be injected into the areas of significant spasm and/or trigger points. This will cause significant flaccidity of the target muscle.
The result is usually not immediate and takes a few weeks to set in. Duration of effect varies from a few weeks to several months. Physical therapy and life style plays an important role in therapy. Side effects are rare, although, some patients may experience flu like symptoms temporarily. The injection may be repeated if needed.