Botox and fibromyalgia

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Botox treatments for people with fibromyalgia are a relatively new form of therapy. But Botox use may explode in the next few years, particularly if both clinical research and patients' word of mouth indicate that Botox can provide the pain relief that patients so desperately want and need. In fact, it could really take off if the prices come down.

Joseph Kandel, MD, a neurologist and the medical director of Neuroscience & Spine Associates in Naples, Florida, has treated numerous fibromyalgia

A healthful bacteria

Most people spend a lot of time trying to avoid bacteria, carefully washing their hands with antibacterial soap, taking daily baths or showers, and trying to keep their bodies and their clothes as clean as they can. For the most part, bacteria are seen as being bad and something to avoid. Botox is created by bacteria, so the idea of injecting it into your system may make you feel a little squeamish. It may almost sound like injecting dirt into your body.

Yet, when you really think about it, not all bacteria are bad. Here's one simple example: Bacteria in your stomach enable you to digest your food more easily by helping to break it down. When you take antibiotics to combat an infection that you have (such as a strep throat or a urinary tract infection), those bacteria may be killed, or at least weakened, and thus, you get diarrhea and can't digest your food as well.

You may also develop a yeast infection while you're taking antibiotics because the bacteria that were killed by the antibiotic were also the ones that had previously kept the yeast at bay. They're gone, so the yeast can proliferate. So, it's not exactly true that the only good bacteria are dead bacteria.

patients with Botox treatments. Dr. Kandel says that Botox injections can be quite successful in treating the muscle changes, muscle spasms, and the general spasticity that many patients with fibromyalgia experience.

Dr. Kandel says that the relief that's provided by a Botox injection may take 7 to 21 days to start working; however, many patients get some pain relief within a few days because of the acupuncture effect of the needle. When it starts working, the pain relief from Botox injections may last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the individual patient. During that temporary period, patients may experience at least a partial reprieve from their severe pain, allowing them to exercise and increase range of motion and muscle function. These actions can then help patients to prevent, or at least delay, a further flare-up in problem areas.

Using Botox in pain management is a relatively new application. The use of Botox in fibromyalgia has not been sufficiently studied in clinical tests to determine whether it's a useful therapy. Doctors who do favor Botox say that it works for most, but not all, of their patients. So don't expect any guarantees if you sign up for Botox injections. (For that matter, don't expect guarantees with any other medical procedures that you receive, either.)

As of this writing, the FDA hasn't approved Botox injections to treat chronic pain from fibromyalgia or any other chronic-pain condition. This approval may come in the near future, but it's not here yet. Despite this fact, doctors may still legally administer the injections.

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