A woman leans her head to the side as a syringe of Botox is injected into her tight, swollen muscles.

Botox Injections for Muscle Spasms

I’ve had two pain management procedures. First being steroid injections into my muscle spasms, a very painful experience that did not work. My second pain management procedure was Botox injections into my muscle spasms. Again, a painful experience. But it is working, woohoo!

My second appointment

So, I arrived like a bag of nerves at my second pain management appointment. My first appointment was so traumatic. To even touch my spasms hurt, so getting huge injections into my spasms was not a pleasant experience.

I filled out some forms and waited in the waiting room holding back the tears until the nurse called my name. I entered the room feeling frightened. I explained that the steroid injections did not work and told him how I felt for a few weeks after. I felt awful, the steroid injections sent me into one of the worst flares I have experienced to date.

While chatting to my pain management doctor I began to cry. I was embarrassed but I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. He was very nice and reassured me that we would find a way to help my debilitating muscle spasms. It just might be a lot of trial and error. He was confident that Botox injections would work, and he was right.

Injection time

So, he began to inject me. For this, I had to sit upright. I was afraid that I would faint from the pain, so they allowed my mam to stand in front of me just in case. I squeezed her hand while they injected me. It hurt a lot but not as much as steroids. They also sprayed a numbing agent on my spasms which helped, but not a lot. It was over within a minute, much shorter than steroid injections.

When I arrived home, I went straight to bed. He advised me to rest for a week and that’s what I did. For about a week I had pain where he injected me, and my neck felt very weak and tired. 10 days had passed and I felt no relief. I began to lose hope.

Side effects

After two weeks I developed a "floppy neck," I could not lift or support my head on its own. This of course caused me to have more muscle spasms and pain. I was so sad; I hadn’t left the house in over two weeks. I woke up on Saturday morning unable to lift my head, it was a very strange experience. I was supposed to be attending my friend's baby shower but unfortunately, I had to miss it.

For five whole days, I was unable to lift or support my head. I spent a lot of time lying down and when I did have to get up, I used a neck brace. After five days I was slowly gaining strength in my neck again. Unfortunately, the strength has not returned to where it used to be. If I'm standing or sitting without being able to lean my head on something behind me my neck gets very tired and uncomfortable. So, I need to start using light weights to build up my strength again.

It began to work!

After about three weeks I noticed that my spasms were less frequent, less intense and that they had moved. I am so happy that I no longer have bulging lumps on my shoulders from my spasms. And my spasms do not happen here anymore. Instead, I have smaller less intense spasms in my middle back that travel into my armpit.

The following week I returned to my pain management specialist. I told him how I was feeling and my experience with a "floppy neck." He said that this was a good sign, examined my back, and reassured me that the Botox was working. He prescribed Baclofen, which I take three times daily.

The mix of Botox and Baclofen has helped my spasms so much. After two years of living with chronic debilitating muscle spasms, I had lost hope. I am so proud of myself that I pushed my rheumatologist for help and a referral. And I am so proud of myself that I returned to my pain management specialist after my traumatic first experience. I will now receive botox injections every three months.

It was all worth it! If you are feeling hopeless with your treatment, keep advocating and fighting for help!

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