Neck pain caused by muscle spasm can now be safely treated with Botox®.
Who can be treated?
Patients with the following conditions may benefit from treatment.
- Cervical dystonia (torticollis)
- Whiplash associated disorders
- Disc degenerative disease causing muscle spasm
How does it work?
The mechanism of action remains unclear. It is thought that Botox® blocks the transmission of nerve impulses. This blockade permits the relaxation of the muscles injected and diminishes the transmission of pain signals.
Which areas are treated?
Botox® Therapeutic is injected into the affected muscles of the neck and back.
How long does it last?
Patients will notice an improvement in the frequency and severity of neck and back pain over a 3 to 5 month period, after which time the treatment can be repeated, if needed. It is unknown at this time if the benefits are cumulative with time. Onset of results is typically achieved within two weeks.
Are there other benefits?
- Patients may choose to discontinue use of other medications which are often expensive, addictive, sedating, or cause gastrointestinal upset, including ulcers.
- It is not a cure, but rather a method of control that has fewer side effects than some of the conventional treatments.
Are there any risks?
- There is a risk that the treatment will be ineffective. It does not work for everyone. At present, there are no reliable clinical indicators that help predict which patients might benefit.
- Temporary bruising may occur at the site of injection.
- The muscles that elevate and shrug the shoulders may be temporarily affected, and mild neck weakness is not uncommon, but this is not a major concern.
- Repeated exposure to Botox® does not cause long term problems, and the effects of the medication reverse with time.
Many extended health plans will cover the cost of Botox® Therapeutic for the treatment of cervical dystonia. After the initial complimentary consultation, Dr. Setterfield will provide you with a letter for your insurance company.
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