BOTOX® for Medical Conditions
In the late 1990s, onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox®) gained notoriety as a wrinkle reducer, and soon after as a treatment for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). It has also been used for conditions such as neck spasms, eye twitching, Raynaud’s disease, and overactive bladder.
Studies then started coming out showing benefit for migraine headaches, so that in 2010, the FDA approved Botox® as a preventive treatment for chronic migraines.
Botox® for Migraines
Botox® is an injectable medication made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which prevents transmission of messages from nerves to muscles. Once transmission has been blocked, overactive muscles begin to relax. It is typically injected every 3 or so months by your doctor, although the benefits and duration of effect can be quite variable between patients. Your treatment session is typically 10-15 minutes, and involves multiple tiny pokes (discomfort level is typically 1 out of 10) in different locations of the face, and sometimes neck and/or upper back.
Botox® can reduce symptoms of migraine headaches such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to lights, sounds and smells. It may take 1-2 weeks for you to experience relief after your treatment. In some cases, after the first session, you may experience insufficient relief, and many people start appreciating the benefits more after their 2nd or 3rd treatment.
Complications and side effects from Botox®treatments are rare. Other than the minor sting (1 out of 10, about that of a mosquito bite). Uncommonly, you can have a bit of neck pain or stiffness at the injection site, develop a headache, or experience temporary muscle weakness in the treated area; all of these typically resolve on their own within a few days.
If other preventive treatments haven’t eased your chronic migraine symptoms, it is reasonable to consider this treatment since it is quick, low-risk, and it may be the answer to more symptom-free days.
Note that some private drug plans will pay for your Botox® migraine treatments, so it’s a good idea to check with them in advance.
Botox® for Raynaud’s Disease
Historically, Raynaud’s disease or Raynaud’s phenomenon has been treated by vasodilation and surgical sympathectomy, often with unsatisfactory results. Botox® can result in pain relief, ulcer healing, & improved blood flow which can last for 6-9 months. The main side effect is temporary (usually 2-3 weeks) finger muscle weakness. Dr. Barankin was one of the first physicians in the world to effectively treat (he published a scientific paper & book chapter on the subject) Raynaud’s disease with Botox®.
Botox® for TMJ (TemperoMandibular Joint) Pain:
Botox® is an injectable medication made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which prevents transmission of messages from nerves to muscles. Once transmission has been blocked, overactive muscles begin to relax, resulting in reduced muscle spasm and pain in the patient. This effect is completely reversible and typically lasts a few months with muscle function then returning to normal. TMJ pain can also result in associated or radiating headaches which are also improved with Botox® treatment.
TMJ symptoms include
- Pain and tenderness in or around the ear, jaw joint
- Pain in the muscles of the jaw, face, temples, neck
- Facial pain upon awakening
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Crepitus – tmj clicking/popping, crunching/grinding noise during oral function
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Jaw/face injuries
- Bruxism (tooth clenching or grinding)
- Head/neck muscle tension
- Oral habits
- Worn/ill-fitting dentures
*Results may vary from person to person
If you have TMJ symptoms and would like to learn more, please contact our office for a consultation to determine if Botox®is right for you.
Here is a selection of media articles quoting our renowned dermatologists Dr. Benjamin Barankin and Dr. Anatoli Freiman as they pertain to treatments with Botox®. Toronto Dermatology Centre is proud to be among the largest treatment centres for Botox® in Canada.