Botulinum toxin injections have been shown to be safe and well tolerated in many clinical settings. In a pain management setting, these injections are usually considered after more traditional measures have failed. The exception to this is in the treatment of cervical dystonia, in which botulinum toxin injections are considered a first line treatment.
Botox, or botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum or related species. It prevents the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from being released from nerve endings that signal muscles to contract.
At the doses used in humans, the answer is typically no. The toxin is locally injected at low doses into specific muscle groups so they can relax.
However, if too much toxin has been injected or there is distant spread from the injection site, there are risks of dramatic weakness, breathing or swallowing problems, dry mouth, vision difficulty, and changes in your voice.
Botox is FDA approved for the treatment of a wide variety of medical issues. These include spasticity, hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating), urinary incontinence, cervical dystonia, and migraine headaches.
While some patients may experience minor discomfort from the injection, the needle used is very small and most patients report no pain.
Botox follows the rule of 3.
Reviewed by: Dr. Christopher Good.