Botox Injections for Arthritis
Arthritis is a very common and painful condition, affecting millions of people each year around the world. There are many forms of arthritis that have different underlying causes, but all of them cause painful, swollen joints. There are many different treatments available for arthritis like medications, physical therapy and home remedies. But one method you may not have heard about is Botox injections for arthritis. Read on to learn more about Botox injections for arthritis, how it works and whether it is effective for treating arthritis.
What Are Botox Injections?
Botox involves the injection of controlled quantities of a powerful toxin into the skin. The toxin used in Botox injections is the same bacteria that causes botulism, a deadly foodborne illness. However, when distilled into small amounts and used sparingly, Botox injections turn a dangerous neurotoxin into a restorative treatment.
Botox is a neurotoxin, which means it disrupts the activity of the nervous system. In treatment, this feature is utilized to temporarily stop muscle activity. This is how Botox helps cures wrinkles; it forces the muscles in the face that cause wrinkles to stop contracting. For arthritis, the treatment works by stopping affected muscles from contracting and blocking pain signals between the joints and the brain.
The most common use for Botox injections is cosmetic. Botox can reduce the appearance of wrinkles in the face and make skin smoother. However, Botox is also used for other, less cosmetic conditions like neck spasms, excessive sweating, overactive bladder and lazy eyes. And of course, research has also demonstrated that Botox may be effective for treating arthritis pain.
What Is the Botox Process Like for Arthritis?
The only major difference between receiving Botox for arthritis and receiving Botox for other reasons is where the doctor injects the treatment. While people often receive Botox in the face, Botox for arthritis will be injected directly into the affected joint. Here is what you can expect if you seek out Botox treatment for arthritis.
The first step in seeking any new treatment is talking to your doctor. Some factors that might affect your eligibility for Botox include whether you have recently had Botox, if you take certain medications like muscle relaxants and sleep aids, or if you take blood thinners.
If you and your doctor agree that Botox is the right step for you based on your condition and past treatments, they can refer you to a clinic. While most patients do not require any numbing for Botox injections, a topical numbing cream may be warranted depending on the area of your body being treated and the level of your pain.
If you've tried other treatment options for arthritis that haven't worked, then clinical trials for arthritis may be an option for you. Learn more here.
Botox is a very quick procedure. The injection process only lasts about 10 minutes, though it can vary based on the number of injections. Some patients only need to receive one or two injections, but others may require more.
The injections themselves are no more painful than any other shot, though they may have residual pain and swelling that can be alleviated by applying ice.
Patients can go about their day right after receiving Botox injections. Results may be noticeable within 24 to 48 hours and may last up to six months. However, most of the available information on Botox is specifically for cosmetic applications, so the exact timing of results and re-treatment might vary for patients with arthritis. Your doctor will likely ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment in a few weeks to evaluate your progress and discuss the possibility of re-treatment.
It is important not to rub or massage the injection site for at least 24 hours after treatment, even though it may feel uncomfortable or itchy. This prevents the toxin from spreading to areas where it is not intended.
Is Botox Effective for Arthritis?
While the results so far have shown that Botox can help relieve joint pain and improve overall function and mobility, the research is still in early phases. More clinical trials are necessary to learn more about how Botox works for arthritis and who can benefit from it.
However, unlike other medications in clinical trials, Botox is already FDA approved. So, Botox is more accessible for arthritis than other new treatments like stem cell therapy. If you think that Botox may be right for you, the first step is to talk to your doctor. They can advise you on the best course of action based on your unique condition and needs.