Can Botox Help Manage Osteoarthritis?

Can Botox Help Manage Osteoarthritis?

By Arthritis Connect StaffCA Published at November 14, 2016 Views 4,643 Comments 1 Likes 1

Many bacteria are harmful, but some have beneficial medical uses. Case in point, clostridium botulinum. This common bacterium produces a toxin that causes a dire form of food poisoning. But the same toxin is used to create the drug called Botox. Best known for helping to smooth facial wrinkles, Botox can treat a wide variety of other health conditions too. They run the gamut from overactive bladder to chronic migraines, according to MedlinePlus. And recently, Botox has also been tried on osteoarthritis (OA).

How does Botox relieve osteoarthritis?

Eric Hsu is a pain specialist at Los Angeles' Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Speaking with the Arthritis Foundation, he said that Botox seems to relieve osteoarthritis pain by blocking communication between targeted nerves and muscles. Elsewhere, another study in the journal Biochemistry notes that Botox may treat chronic inflammation, which is a significant component of OA according to the Cleveland Clinic. That study suggests that Botox could block the release of tumor necrosis factor alpha, a chemical compound that causes inflammation. This method does more than just relieve pain; it treats the underlying condition.

Botox may help block pain signals from muscles.

Does Botox really work?

Over the last several years, a number of studies have investigated the role and effectiveness of Botox in treating OA. Though the scope of each study varies, all of them have made promising findings.

One study, presented at the European League Against Rheumatism and reported by MedicineNet, compared two groups. One was given injections of hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural component of skin. The other received a mix of Botox and HA. In just 30 days, the Botox/HA group reported far less pain.

In a separate study, researchers from Minneapolis treated 54 people with Botox following total knee replacement. Their results, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, found that 71 percent of the people had significant reductions in pain.

Are there any risks?

Dr. Maren Mahowald from the University of Minnesota told CBS News that using Botox to manage OA pain is safe and has few risks. Problems are less likely because researchers usually use relatively small doses of Botox for OA.

If you’re not getting enough pain relief for your osteoarthritis, talk with your doctor about adjusting your treatments.

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