The Use Of Paravertebral Botox in Treating Refractory Back Pain

The Use Of Paravertebral Botox in Treating Refractory Back Pain

Although we commonly associate botox with beauty treatment to ensure everyone looks young, the medicinal use of botox as a method of controlling pain is increasing and its uses are becoming more widespread. This article takes an overview of how botox can be injected in the prarvertebral area, to treat refractory back pain.

The Paravertebral Area

The paravertebral area is located in the spine. It is about the width of a hand when in the stretched position and it has runs parallel with the spine. This results in its name, deriving from parallel and the vertebrae in the spine.

Refractory Back Pain

Refractory back pain is a name given to back pain that is particularly hard to treat because it resists all treatment, in other words it cannot be treated easily. Refractory back pain is also unresponsive to any stimuli that are applied, resulting in the patient finding little respite from the pain.

General Difficulty In Treating Refractory Back Pain

By its very name, this type of back pain is very difficult to treat and other treatments tried have been unsuccessful. The nature of a condition of this type is that the pain is chronic, i.e. long lasting and patients often present as exhausted with pain/lack of sleep and are often frustrated by their situation.

Botox As Treatment

Early indications are that as many as 53% of patients with refractory back pain may experience significant reductions in pain as a result of being injected with botox in the paravertebral area. The pain reduction is also significant in duration, with patients experiencing pain reduction for up to 2 months after an injection.

Is Botox The Primary Choice of Treatment?

When treating refractory pain, by definition, other treatments will have been tried and failed, hence why the patient is diagnosed with pain that is refractory in nature.

Pain management techniques usually try to solve the problem at source, whereas botox simply alleviates the pain, it will not, per se, ‘cure’ the problem that is causing the patient to experience such levels of pain.

Botox and Contraindications

The use of botox within the paravertebral area is relatively safe. Trials have been undertaken that reveal no significant contraindications or side effects. Some patients (less than 5%) may experience some kind of flu-like symptoms, but it could reasonably be argued that statistically in any group some individuals will experience these symptoms anyway.

Future Use of Botox

Since it does not ‘cure’ the problem at source, botox is not a panacea for all lower back pain problems, but its use as a pain management tool is likely to increase over time. It can also be particularly useful where a surgical procedure is recommended, but for whatever reason, the procedure is delayed.

Although it may not be the initial choice for treatment of lower back pain, it is an exceptionally useful tool and given that it is also a relatively non-invasive procedure and its therapeutic benefits high, it is a positive step forward in the battle against refractory back pain.

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