Botox shows promise against persistent neck, shoulder pain

October 14, 2012

(HealthDay)—Botox injections, long used to smooth away wrinkles, might also soothe chronic neck and shoulder muscle pain, new research suggests.

This type of persistent "is a common disorder that potentially may cause functional impairment in our patients," explained one expert not connected to the study, Dr. Robert Duarte. "In addition, neck pain may provoke headaches," said Duarte, who directs the Pain Center at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, NY.

In the study, 118 patients with pain lasting more than two months who had already tried other were given injections of either botox (botulinum toxin type A) or a placebo.

Those who received botox had a much greater reduction in than those who received the placebo, according to a team from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The patients who received the botox injections also had a significant reduction in the number of headaches per week, and their headaches were less severe. They also had an overall improved quality of life because pain was less likely to interfere with general activity, sleep and enjoyment.

The study was scheduled for presentation Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

The researchers said their findings suggest that botox may be an option for people with chronic neck and shoulder pain (myofascial pain syndrome) that hasn't been relieved with traditional therapies, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and muscle relaxants, physical therapy and behavioral modification.

"At best, long-term benefit with traditional therapies is transient and unpredictable. Even with these treatments, some people with myofascial pain syndrome get incomplete benefit or no benefit at all," study author Dr. Andrea Nicol, director of research at the UCLA Pain Management Center, said in an ASA news release.

Along with its use to smooth out frown lines and wrinkles, botox is being tested as a treatment for other conditions, including bladder leakage, or urinary incontinence. Researchers are also using botox to treat a number of painful conditions, including migraine headaches.

"Botox is in a class of medications called neurotoxins and when injected into muscles, blocks the nerve signals that cause the tightening of muscle, leading to muscle relaxation. Thus, botox may offer advantages over traditional therapies for myofascial pain syndrome due to its prolonged and sustained effects," Nicol said.

Duarte said that "in patients complaining of persistent neck pain who have failed these therapies, botox may prove to be helpful. In my own practice, I have seen patients respond to such a treatment. More studies, however, are needed."

Another expert agreed. " injections may play a role for those patients who have failed more traditional treatment protocols," said Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of the department of surgery and co-director of the Orthopedic and Spine Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. "Although the preliminary data looks promising, more studies are needed to investigate the efficacy and safety of in with chronic cervical conditions," he added.

Findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Explore further: Mayo Clinic finds botox eases painful spinal headaches

More information: The American Academy of Physical Rehabilitation and Medicine has more about neck pain.


Related Stories

Mayo Clinic finds botox eases painful spinal headaches

April 14, 2011
A Mayo Clinic case study finds Botox may offer new hope to patients suffering disabling low cerebrospinal fluid headaches. The successful treatment also offers new insight into Botox and headache treatment generally. The ...

Botox injections associated with only modest benefit for chronic migraine and daily headaches

April 24, 2012
Although botulinum toxin A ("Botox") injections are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for preventive treatment for chronic migraines, a review and analysis of previous studies finds a small to modest benefit for ...

Two studies find Botox injections help reduce nighttime teeth grinding

May 1, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Two groups working independently have found that patients who suffer from nighttime teeth grinding, a condition known as nocturnal bruxism, found relief after being injected in their temple and jaw muscles ...

US approves Botox for bladder control

August 24, 2011
The face-freezing pharmaceutical injection Botox gained another medical use on Wednesday when the US government approved it for use in some patients with overactive bladder.

Botulinum toxin does not cure common forms of neck pain

July 6, 2011
There is no evidence that Botulinum toxin injections reduce chronic neck pain or associated headaches, says a group of scientists who reviewed nine trials involving a total of 503 participants. Their findings are published ...

Recommended for you

Opioids overused in migraine treatment, regardless of race, study finds

August 17, 2017
African-Americans are more likely to experience debilitating migraine headaches than whites, but a new study probing the issue found no evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices.

Finding better ways to reduce serious drug side effects

August 14, 2017
Many of the medicines we depend on to treat disease—and even to save our lives—pose potentially serious risks along with their benefits. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that about ...

Ultrasound-triggered liposomes for on-demand, local anesthesia

August 10, 2017
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found a new way to non-invasively relieve pain at local sites in the body; such systems could one day improve pain management by replacing addictive opioids and short-lasting ...

Independent pharmacies and online coupons help patients save money on drugs

August 8, 2017
Uninsured patients or those with limited prescription drug coverage can save significant money by buying their drugs at independent pharmacies instead of big box, grocery or chain drug stores and by using discount coupons, ...

New study generates more accurate estimates of state opioid and heroin fatalities

August 7, 2017
Although opioid and heroin deaths have been rising dramatically in the U.S., the magnitude of the epidemic varies from state to state, as does the relative proportion of opioid vs heroin poisonings. Further complicating the ...

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.