Botox And Piriformis Syndrome

Botox And Piriformis Syndrome


Recently the medicinal or clinical uses for Botox have received considerable media attention in the UK and Botox was, during 2009, portrayed in the media as almost being a ‘wonder drug’. It could help with fybromyalgia, be effective for feet problems, if a woman had worn high heels for too long. It could even help treat piriformis syndrome and ensure that physiotherapy could be resumed.


This has led to many thinking that Botox injections will ‘cure’ piriformis syndrome and that it is indeed a wonder drug.


But as ever, the situation is not as straightforward as it may ostensibly seem!


Botox As Secondary Treatment


Botox will only be used where the condition is refractory and does not respond well to conventional treatment.  This is not because it is unsafe, but a lesser known fact about the use of Botox to treat piriformis syndrome, is that the muscle will never fully regain all its strength. Usually patients will find that it is around 90% as strong as it was prior to the treatment, after a year or so, but it will never be fully restored.


Botox Is Not Immediate


After the Botox injection it will usually take around 14 days for patients to experience a significant level of pain reduction.


The injection works by preventing the motor nerve and the muscle communicating so the nerve does not send any pain signals to the brain. 


Botox Cannot Cure


When someone is in a great deal of pain, anything that alleviates this pain can be viewed by them as a ‘cure’ but this is not in fact the case. The pain is a symptom that something is wrong and it is important to treat the cause of the pain, rather than the symptom.


If Botox is used, but no stretching or physiotherapy is undertaken, when the Botox wears off the pain will still be there because the piriformis muscle is still contracted. So for this reason, Botox should be viewed as simply one half of the story; it is really only effective with physiotherapy.


Benefits Of Botox:


Although Botox is not immediate and it is not permanent, it unlocks the patient from the prison of pain. It enables them to start physiotherapy and ensuring that the reduce the contraction that is in the piriformis muscle.


Botox can also prevent someone having surgery, since prior to the availability of Botox, surgery may have to be undertaken to actually release the piriformis muscle. Although this is a safe procedure, no surgery is without risk and as such it is preferable to have a Botox injection, rather than experience surgery. Not only is the procedure itself quicker, but the recovery time is far quicker, meaning that normal life (and physiotherapy) can be resumed.


Thus there are compelling arguments for the use of Botox in the treatment of piriformis syndrome, true it is not immediate nor is it a cure, but as a means of treating and alleviating the pain caused by piriformis syndrome, it is an exceptionally useful tool.



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