If you’re looking to erase wrinkles and look years younger, you may be considering Botox injections. If you suffer from temporomandibular joints (TMJ) pain, you may now also consider Botox. You see, the very popular anti-aging treatment may now offer relief from people suffering from treatment resistance TMJ pain – jaw pain.
The TMJs are located on either side of the jaw and are part of the other muscles and ligaments which assist in the opening and closing of the mouth. These joints are constantly being used when speaking, eating, and making different facial expressions. This constant use can lead to wear and tear, which can cause the joint to “dislocate” and lead to pain, discomfort, and headaches.
Typical treatment for TMJ involves pain medications, changing your diet to avoid harder foods, practicing facial exercises, tongue splints, and modifying how you sleep.
If these tactics are unsuccessful, Botox may offer relief and can be an alternative to surgery.
It’s been found that injecting Botox in the masseter, temporal, and lateral pterygoid facial muscles may help ease jaw tension and reduce discomfort and pain. This can cause relaxation of the facial muscles and create normal facial expressions in patients.
Although Botox has been found to offer relief to patients, it is not a permanent solution and there may be side effects. If the Botox is not injected in the proper site, it can lead to toxicity in the body and complications.
In a 2007 French study, the researchers looked at patients with TMJ pain for at least a year. Those with allergies, diabetes, who were pregnant or breastfeeding, myopathy, and central neuropathy were excluded from the study to reduce the risk of side effects and complications.
The study used an injection of 30-unit doses and data on patients were taken up to three months.
After the three-month mark, no participant reported additional TMJ pain, with 95 percent of them reporting low pain scores; 66 percent reported an improvement in pain. Sixty-two percent reported lower levels of disability and 75 percent improved in physical, mental, emotional, and relational health. There were minimal reports of side effects with only five percent reporting headaches, but this was resolved in 48 hours.
Although the study highlights that Botox may be a safe treatment for severe TMJ where other treatments have failed, every person is different, so you should always speak to your doctor first.
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