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 4 months.1
Injecting medicines to reduce back pain and inflammation is helpful for some people. The injections usually consist of a steroid and a numbing medicine.
However, it's important to keep in mind that not everyone gets the same relief.