BOTOX Explained

The botulinum toxin derivative results in temporary muscle paralysis through a mechanism that effectively blocks the chemical signaling of nerves that innervate muscles, leading to a reduction in muscle contractility.

To cause muscle contraction, nerves release a chemical compound called acetylcholine. This chemical binds to receptors present on muscle cells to signal the shortening of muscles, resulting in contraction. In the presence of botulinum toxin or BOTOX, the release of acetylcholine is blocked and muscle contraction is prevented from occurring. It is important to remember that for BOTOX to be efficacious, it must be injected directly into the target muscle.

As one of the most extensively researched and tested medications in Canada, BOTOX and its neurological effect of reducing muscular hyperactivity has led to its use in pain management for many years. The administration of botulinum toxin into areas of the body that suffer from chronic pain consequently causes an analgesic effect that lasts up to three or four months.

As mentioned, BOTOX injections are commonly used to temporarily relax facial muscles that are responsible for wrinkles, frown lines, crow’s feet and forehead furrows. Being much more than just a cosmetic procedure, BOTOX therapy is also applicable to a number of conditions including: cervical dystonia, hyperhidrosis, chronic migraines, cerebral palsy, diabetic neuropathy and so on. At our pain management clinic in Toronto, BOTOX therapy is used more specifically to treat patients with chronic pain disorder, temporomandibular joint disorder, Multiple Sclerosis, migraines, occipital neuralgia and complex regional pain syndrome. We also offer a several injection treatments with botulinum toxin for individuals with spinal pain and conditions relating to the spine such as osteoarthritis of the spine, lumbago, cervical, thoracic or lumbar radiculopathy, piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and failed back syndrome.

How to prepare for a BOTOX therapy

If you are considering the use of BOTOX therapy as a solution for your chronic pain, it is important that you inform our medical team of any recent botulinum toxin injections within the past four months. Additionally, please let us know if you are taking any medications for allergies, sleeping aids, muscle relaxants or blood thinners. If you are using blood thinners, we may ask that you forgo that medication for a short period of time prior to your BOTOX therapy procedure as a preventative measure for excessive bleeding and bruising.

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What to expect before the BOTOX therapy.

Immediately before the injection of BOTOX, you may want to consider the use of a local anesthetic, although the majority of our patients are able to tolerate the slight discomfort of the injection quite well. Depending on your condition, we may use a variety of methods to achieve local anesthetic and increase comfort of the treatment area, including a topical cream, ice or massage.

What to expect during the procedure.

The administration of botulinum toxin into the muscles that are causing pain and discomfort requires a long, thin needle. Tiny amounts of the neurotoxin are injected and more than one injection may be required to achieve effective therapeutic relief. The number of injections necessary will depend on several factors, including the extent of the concerning area. In our clinic, BOTOX therapy is offered on an outpatient basis.  

What to expect after a BOTOX therapy.

As mentioned, since BOTOX therapy is an outpatient procedure for chronic pain, our patients are able to resume their normal daily routines immediately following the injection. Although there is not a significant amount of post-procedure care needed, we recommend our patients to take care of their injection sites and to avoid rubbing the area. Excessive disturbance in the treated areas can cause the botulinum toxin to migrate, reducing the analgesic effects of the therapy.

What are the expected results of BOTOX therapy?

After the successful completion of your BOTOX injection at our clinic, you can expect the botulinum toxin to take effect a few days following its administration. Depending on the medical condition being treated and the amount of neurotoxin given, the effect of BOTOX therapy may last up to three months or longer. To maintain this therapeutic effect, regular follow-up injections of botulinum toxin from our clinic will be necessary.

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Who are good candidates to use Toronto BOTOX therapy for pain management?

At our clinic, we offer and use BOTOX injections as a way for managing pain in patients suffering from a number of chronic pain problems.

Since BOTOX therapy only involves a few simple injections to achieve therapeutic relief, most of our patients with chronic pain are eligible for the treatment.

To best determine if the use of botulinum toxin as an alternative form of treatment for your chronic pain condition, we invite you into our clinic to discuss with our medical team about your individual case. Our careful assessment of your nerve pain, back pain or other chronic ailment will allow us to project the efficacy of the botulinum toxin on your pain so that it can give you the therapeutic relief you need.

What are the associated risks of BOTOX therapy?

BOTOX injections have been used for many years in the clinic and thus, have proven to be relatively safe when performed by an experienced healthcare professional. However, as with all medical procedures, there are possible side effects and risks associated with its use including:

  • Slight pain, swelling or bruising at the site of injection
  • Headache or flu-like symptoms
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Dry eyes or excessive tearing
  • Crooked smile or drooling

Many of these side effects are only applicable to certain areas of the body, thus the likelihood of these will depend on where you need your BOTOX treatment.

Now although it is very unlikely, there is the possibility of the botulinum toxin spreading to other parts of the body. This will result in botulism-like symptoms that requires medical attention:

  • Whole-body muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble with swallowing, speaking or breathing
  • Loss of bladder control

For more information on how we can use botulinum toxin in our Toronto BOTOX therapy to help you control chronic pain, come by and meet with our physician to learn more.

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Go Painless

Our team at Painless Medicine and Therapeutics focuses on improving our patient’s pain conditions.

Our goal and philosophy is to make the patient’s therapeutic experience as painless as possible by finding a therapeutic plan that best treats their symptoms and lifestyle. We truly believe in collaboration and working closely with patients so that they have control over their medication, and so that the treatment aligns with our clinic’s values.

In cases where chronic pain cannot be cured, but instead must be effectively managed, our team’s purpose is to limit the complications and to minimize the severity of the symptoms experienced by the patient. We wish to optimize our patients’ control over their pain so they feel enabled to be the best possible version of themselves and enjoy life again.

If you are suffering from a chronic pain condition, we highly suggest that you visit our clinic in Toronto to see what we can do for you.