Many people are unaware that before Botox injections was known for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, it was mainly used for chronic pain control, including back and nerve pain. Pain management and other alternative uses for Botox therapy have shown just how versatile and effective this treatment option can be.
Why Botox Provides Pain Relief
Used for pain management, Botox therapy is used to treat specific targeted areas in the body. For chronic pain control, the use of Botox injections allows patients to experience pain relief that is simple untreatable by typical pain management prescriptions and gives a solution to painful areas that are otherwise untreatable.
Botox for pain relief works by:
- Preventing the injected area from releasing pain-inducing chemicals
- Allowing the muscle or muscle group to relax, relieving the chronic pain
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Potential Applications of Botox for Pain Relief
Botox can be effectively used to treat the following chronic muscle and nerve pain conditions, a few of them being:
Headaches and Migraines
Botox can prevent the recurrence of migraines for up to three months when used as directed. The medication enters nerve endings at the injection sites to block the release of chemicals that transmit pain messages to the brain.
Botox is available to patients who experience chronic migraine and are over the age of 18. A single treatment typically lasts between 10-12 weeks.
Bruxism is the medical term for unconscious teeth clenching and grinding, either while awake or asleep, which can lead to physical painful and severe dental problems. Chronic teeth grinding can cause headache, earaches, facial pain and even migraines.
More commonly referred to as TMJ, this joint is located at the base of your skull in front of the ear structure and connects the lower jaw with the upper jaw. Like any other joint in the body, the TMJ can be fractured, swell and become sore, causing limited movement of the lower jaw and pain radiating to the head and neck area.
Botox for Migraine Treatment
Botox is FDA-approved for the treatment of chronic migraine. If you have headaches on 15 or more days each month, you are a candidate for treatment. The more frequent your headaches, the more likely Botox will be successful.
Could I have a TMJ disorder?
Problems with facial discomfort can quickly take over your life, whether you’re experiencing head pain, jaw pain, or sinus pain. If you’ve been feeling constant pain in your jaw, your discomfort may be stemming from a TMJ disorder. Typical symptoms of TMJ include:
- Facial, neck or shoulder pain when you chew, speak or open your mouth
- Limited range of motion or inability to fully open your mouth
- Locking of your jaw
- Clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Facial swelling
- Toothaches, headaches or neck aches
- Dizziness, earaches or hearing loss
Moving Past Jaw Pain
To check if your pain is associated with TMJ, Dr. de Jongh will:
- Palpate the facial muscles to check for tenderness
- Perform a range of motion exam to listen for locking, clicking or popping
- Take a series of x-rays to check the positioning and contact of the joint
- Examine your bite and its alignment
Treatments for TMM disorders can extend to other causes of jaw discomfort if left untreated. The keys to treating TMJ are typically TMJ massage, a night guard, or by using trigger-point injections of Botox therapeutic to relax the muscles that surround the joint and relieve the pain and spasms entirely.
Candidates For Pain Management from TMJ With Botox
Because Botox treatments only involve a few simple injections, most patients that experience any type of chronic pain, including pain from TMJ, are eligible for treatment. The best way to determine if Botox therapy can be used as an alternative to other forms of chronic pain control is to discuss your individual case with Dr. de Jongh who will be able to determine if Botox can help ease your pain and give you the relief you need.