In my practice of over 30 years I have had many opportunities to think about why people develop facial pain problems and what I can do to get them out of trouble. The majority of patients who come my way suffer from pain that is muscle-based and in turn is caused by any number of factors. I have found Botox to be effective in the treatment of persistent facial pain, especially when other strategies have failed.
In order to determine who is a good candidate for Botox therapy I first investigate the cause of the muscle stress in the first place. Usually I discover that my patient is experiencing one (or more) of the following:
- Poor sleep quantity and quality.
- Repetitive work postures fatiguing the neck and shoulder region.
- Behaviors repeated throughout the day which tighten the jaw, neck and shoulder muscles.
- Emotional upset and challenging life circumstances.
- Shallow and fast chest breathing patterns.
- Excessive consumption of stimulants in beverages and food.
- Stimulant-based medications.
- Poor breathing at night while sleeping.
- Autoimmune problems, which lower pain thresholds.
- Physical exercise choices that continually stress the neck muscles such as spinning classes.
Botox is proving to be another way to break the cycle of chronic pain. A series of injections are administered into the jaw muscles, upper neck muscles and across the forehead. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the pain, which in turn often imparts a new sense of optimism to my patients who have suffered for years, many believing that there was no solution.
In addition to relieving pain, Botox is helpful for patients who experience nighttime teeth clenching and grinding. After treatment there is a period of time when the muscles simply cannot contract as aggressively. And although the cause of the bruxing isn’t eliminated, many people discover that the achy, tight jaw that they normally wake up with is gone.
Botox is not a miracle drug but it is becoming an increasingly important part of my toolbox to help my patients get better. Do you have questions about Botox therapy? Please use the comment box below.
Botox is in the news! I was recently interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America on the topic, Can Botox be used to treat teeth grinding? Click the link to watch the segment.