Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Botox injections: Can they relieve arthritis pain?

Can Botox injections relieve arthritis pain?

Updated: 01-21-2011

Answer

In early studies, Botox injections appear to reduce arthritis pain in the shoulder, knee and hip. These results are promising, but they fall short of proving that Botox injections are an effective treatment for arthritis pain.

Botox is the brand name for onabotulinumtoxinA — the pharmaceutical form of botulinum toxin type A. This toxin is produced by the bacterium that causes the food poisoning botulism. When injected in small doses into specific muscles, Botox blocks the chemical signals that cause muscles to contract.

So far, participants in various studies have reported improvement in arthritis pain and function after Botox injections. There's much left to learn about the possible role of Botox injections in arthritis treatment, however. While research continues, proven treatment options — such as exercise, weight loss and medication — remain the focus of most arthritis treatment plans.