Paravertebral Botox and Lower Back Pain

Paravertebral Botox and Lower Back Pain

Within the UK, the use of Botox is still seen as an innovative and somewhat novel approach to treating pain relief.  Patients are often desperate to seek a remedy to their lower back pain, but on the other hand they may feel concerned that because Botox is such a new treatment that there may be side effects or effects that only emerge after some time.

Yet in fact the use of Botox to treat refractory pain may be rather new within the UK, but within the US, it has been used for some time.

How Botox Started To Be Used For Pain

Botox was first identified as being of use medicinally as early as the late 1980’s.  In fact it was 1987 when the drug company Allergan Inc purchased the rights to Botox and started to experiment in terms of how it could be used.

Botox was then found to be useful in terms of correcting disorders within eye muscles such as crossed eyes, so it became licensed for use in 1989.  Over the next 10 years its use was to increase, with a breakthrough coming when botulinum toxin A (Botox) was discovered to help significantly with regard to the condition cervical dystonie, which can cause severe contractions within the shoulder and neck.

At this point Botox started to be regarded as being of use medicinally and further investigation was carried out to ascertain the full range of its uses.

Botox and Back Pain

One of the earliest trials carried out to check the efficacy of Botox for back pain, particularly lower back pain, was carried out in 2000 in California.  This trial looked in depth at 28 patients who were given either a placebo in the form of saline or an injection of Botox.  All the patients had been diagnosed with mechanical lower back pain, but 3 weeks after the treatment, 11 out of the 14 patients who had been treated with Botox reported that they had an astonishingly high rate of pain relief, namely 50%. 

Only 4 patients (out of 14) who had received the placebo reported that they had achieved this level of pain relief.

To ascertain the duration of pain relief, patients were then re-assessed at 8 weeks after treatment and at this point 9 patients out of 14 who had received Botox, still had this level of pain reduction.  Conversely only 2 of the placebo patients reported that their pain had been reduced by 50%.

But alongside the level of pain reduction achieved, one of the most remarkable features of this study was that not one patient experienced a side effect.  Compared to treatment with painkillers and analgesics, this really was a significant development. 

To some extent this is the beauty of Botox; the instance of side effects is so rare that it offers a really golden opportunity to reduce pain without running the risk of side effects.

So it is by no means a ‘flash in the pan’ that has not been sufficiently; in fact it has been researched in depth for at least 20 years and is incredibly safe for use in pain management.

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