Can Botox Be Used To Treat Fibromyalgia?

botox for alternative therapies
Can Fibromyalgia Pain Be Treated With Botox?

Yes, Botox injections (the stuff used for temporarily reducing wrinkles) can also be used as a treatment for fibromyalgia - although it is a relatively new form of therapy for the condition. Doctors have been injecting Botox into patients suffering from other medical conditions like stroke, multiple sclerosis, chronic back or neck pain, tics and tremors for some time. In small quantities it causes weakening and paralysis of the muscles and in the process alleviates pain and spasms. As it has been so successful with these patients it led doctors to try it on people with fibromyalgia symptoms. So far (although it is still early days and there haven't been many studies yet) patients who have Botox injected directly into their fibro tender points (the points on the body where pain is most intense) seem to experience significant pain-relief for anything from a few weeks to several months. During this period of pain-free living, the person can increase their exercise level, helping to loosen and strengthen muscles to reduce the severity of relapses.

Who Administers It?

The FDA has not yet approved the use of Botox for the treatment of any chronic pain relief condition, including fibromyalgia. However doctors are still allowed to legally administer it, although only some choose to do so. Physicians who also practice alternative therapies like acupuncture may be open to trying Botox on their patients. If not, specialists in pain management - some rheumatologists and neurologists - are likely to consider using it as a treatment. It is important to choose a doctor who has experience with Botox. Too high a dose and they can cause muscle damage, too little and it is ineffectual. There are at least 8 different types of Botox on the market, and an experienced doctor will know which is the most suitable.
See: What type of doctor treats fibromyalgia?
See also, is your pain interfering with your job? Check can I go on disability for fibromyalgia?


How Soon Will It Work?

It usually takes about 8 days before you start to feel pain relief from Botox, and it really starts to kick-in after 3 weeks. Many patients have repeat injections after 3 to 4 months.

Will It Cure Me?

Botox is not a miracle cure, it won't for example directly treat other fibromyalgia symptoms like fatigue or fibro fog - but these problems may improve if pain is relieved for a period of time. Also, Botox does not work on all patients, it seems to be a bit of a lottery and you won't know until you try it. The other downside is the cost. One procedure uses two vials of Botox and each vial is about $500, so the total cost is about $1,000. It is unlikely to be covered by your health insurance company, mainly because it classified as experimental and is not yet FDA approved. You also have to be careful not to rely too heavily on it because if you get too many injections you can develop immunity. You might find this article useful as well: Can fibromyalgia be cured?

Related Questions

Looking at all the options: What is the best treatment for fibromyalgia pain?
How exercise can help with pain management: What are the best exercises for fibromyalgia?
Looking at the causes: Can an accident or trauma cause fibromyalgia?

Interesting: What Is Botox?

Botox is a kind of poison created by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is sometimes found in food, like unrefrigerated home-made salsa and baked potatoes sealed in aluminum foil, and if ingested, can be life threatening. However, injected in small doses it works to weaken or paralyze muscles and blocks certain nerves. By injecting it into the face (usually between the eyes or around the lips) it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles (although used too often, the person looks like they have a permanently frozen expression). Injected under the arms it can help with severe underarm sweating. Note: You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

• Need more information? See: Fibromyalgia Syndrome Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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