Botulinum toxin A is a protein produced by the bacteria
Clostridium botulinum, the same bacteria that causes
botulismfood poisoning. When injected into muscle in tiny amounts, botulinum A
(Botox) can stop or reduce muscle spasm by blocking nerve signals to the
muscle. This treatment has been used since the early 1990s to relieve severe
muscle spasms around the eyes and in the neck, arms, legs, hands, and feet.
Some people with
cerebral palsy have gained significant relief from
severe muscle contraction with botulinum toxin injections.
Botulinum toxin A has been tried as a treatment for chronic
low back pain. Although this practice is experimental
and not well tested, it has shown promise. For example, in one small study of 31
people with chronic low back pain, botulinum A injection was compared to saline
injection into painful back muscles. Pain relief was reported by most people as lasting 3 to
If you have lasting back pain and other related symptoms, you know how disruptive to your life it can be. You may be unable to think of little else except finding relief. Some people turn to spinal decompression therapy -- either surgical or nonsurgical. Here's what you need to know to help decide whether it might be right for you.
The small size of the study makes it impossible to guarantee that
botulinum toxin injection is an effective and safe treatment for you.
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this medicine and
unlabeled use. Severe side effects have been
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this