Botulinum toxin is a protein that makes up a popular cosmetic injection called BOTOX. This injection causes degrees of paralysis by blocking a chemical in the body used for muscle contraction. Contrary to popular belief, BOTOX injections have alternative uses outside of cosmetic surgery; they can manage chronic conditions such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), migraine headaches, dystonia (muscle spams), jaw tension, and nerve or muscle pain. This versatile and effective treatment allows physicians to treat specific areas with absolute precision, targeting a single muscle or an entire muscle group. Patients with nerve pain, back pain, headaches, and other chronic ailments may be considered a candidate for this procedure.
The location and number of botulinum toxin injections administered depends on the patient’s condition and symptoms. An Orthopedic and Wellness physician will work with the patient to determine the anatomic target for the BOTOX injections prior to the procedure. For example, if the patient suffers from chronic migraine, he or she may receive injections around the forehead, temples, back of the head, and neck. Once the injection sites are identified, a physician will thoroughly cleanse the area and may administer a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. The botulinum toxin will then be injected into the affected areas to block muscle contraction. The procedure may take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the area being treated. Once the BOTOX treatment is complete, patients will be given after care instructions.
Patients can return home immediately after the procedure. If the patient develops any discomfort or pain 24-48 hours after the injection, he or she may be prescribed muscle relaxants or a mild pain reliever. Common side effects of BOTOX include pain, swelling, and some bruising. This will likely subside after a few days. While this injection does not usually require any downtime, patients may be advised to avoid strenuous physical activity for at least 24 hours, lying down for more than four or five hours immediately after the treatment, and avoid massaging the area treated. If redness, substantial swelling, or a fever occurs near the injection site, patients should call Orthopedic and Wellness right away.