Botox: The Little Drug That Could

This morning, I did what any other American woman does. I opened my eyes, stretched my arms, reached for my phone, and checked my Facebook. It may have not happened exactly in that order, there’s always the possibility that I checked Instagram or my email first, but somewhere in the lineup is definitely my Facebook. It’s not something I’m entirely proud of, and actually I can feel my head dipping a little bit in shame even as I type this. That being said, it is cringe worthy to think that the first story I came across was an US Magazine post, with a glaring headline reading: Heidi Montag Is Almost An Aunt.

My immediate thought was: this is breaking news? While my second thought was: awww, Heidi Montag, what has happened to you? Breaking headlines is no news to Montag, made famous by MTV’s the Hills; she notoriously underwent a whopping ten-procedure plastic surgery in just one sitting. With her body now tucked, trimmed, and filled to her heart’s content, her face is probably the least recognizable. Pulled taut by the amazing filler that is Botox, she is no longer recognizable to the fresh-faced twenty-year-old of yore.

It got me thinking, however, about how Botox is quite the wonder drug. No longer strictly used for aesthetic purposes, the drug has made its way to the pain market, serving as a powerful tool for not just the Plastic Docs in our lives. And I should know. While not a licensed doctor or practicing nurse, I’ve had my fill of Botox treatments planted right into my back. Yup, you heard that right, my back.

Although I’d suffer the occasional “kink in my neck” in high school after a long night of studying, my back and neck pain was fairly non-existent. Flash forward to two years later, and by 2009 I was suffering extreme back pain, including: tension, soreness, stiffness, and problematic sciatica. Unsurprisingly, my chronic back pain began—as many people’s do—as the result of a car accident, in which my body was jostled about aimlessly in the car. Though I made my way out of the accident scot-free (with the exception of $10k in damages to my two-year-old car), I was sorry to find that my once able back, was now riddled through daily with pain.

Long were the mornings when I could quickly rise out of bed and enjoy my day, and even longer were the days and nights following. With a back disposed to spasms and radiating pain, over the counter anti-inflammatories quickly became my new best friend. Ice packs and heat-pads ran a close second to my Icy-Hot patches, but when the entire group came together for a day—well I could almost do anything.

My options were limited: chiropractors were expensive and could only be done every few weeks, and living with the searing ache in my back was out of the question. That’s when my doctor recommended something I’d never thought I’d hear him say. Can you guess? Yes! That wrinkle stomping, face tightening, eyebrow pinching wonder drug, Botox. Uncertain, I raised my non-botoxed brow, and asked him what he meant. His answering stare was level, and unflinching, his news was true: Botox had been found to successfully treat back injuries. As the research and testing was presented, I became increasingly sold on the idea (though admittedly at that point I might’ve been sold had he told me laying in a field of daisies would do the trick) and found myself scheduling an appointment at his recommendation, and counting down the days for when I would face the needle.

The procedure was quick and painless. I was amazed at the simplicity of it, a needle filled with the proper application of Botox goes into the muscle, sending the muscle into a paralyzed state, which in turn offers your back unadulterated relief. Even more surprisingly is that the effects of one wonder drug shot typically last anywhere from four to five months, the end of which time, my doctor said we would reassess—and I’ll have you know, we never did.

While my back pain still comes and goes, it is with much less urgency and pain than in the years previously. No longer do I feel the need to curl into a ball and curse the woman that hit me with her car, but instead I’m able to take an anti-inflammatory like a normal person and go about my day. My spasms have all but disappeared, and I am instead left with only an achy soreness, that I’ll grudgingly admit, comes with age. Suffering from back problems is no joke—and neither is Heidi Montag’s face— but by moving past all of my assumptions, I’ve found myself a comfortable life with that little wonder drug: Botox.