Living with chronic facial pain can be very difficult for the sufferers and their loved ones. Often, diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain can be elusive. Since the pain can radiate outward in an area, it can be difficult to pin down the source of the pain. The source of the pain may be related to infection, nerve, or muscle tissue. Botox may be the answer for many muscular issues. Botox can cause an overactive, painful muscle to become more flaccid and therefore relieve pain from muscle spasms allowing sufferers to be pain free.
What Can Botox Do?
Botox (a brand name of Botulinum Toxin for injection) is injected directly into a targeted muscle group. Once botox enters the muscle it prevents the muscle from recieving nerve commands. Without this command the muscles will not contract thus leaving them temporarily paralyzed. The most popular use of Botox is to relax facial muscles, removing wrinkles to give a more youthful appearance. Botox can be used throughout the facial muscles to paralyze the painful, spasming muscles related to grinding, clenching, headaches, etc. This paralysis can give much needed pain relief from overactive muscles for as long as 3 months at a time.
What Types Of Dental Pain Can Botox Treat?
-Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain. The temperomandibular joint is susceptible to disorders, as it consists of delicate moving parts. When any of these moving parts are not in proper alignment pain can be the result. The major reason for damage is due to chronic bruxism (teeth grinding) or teeth clenching. With Botox use in the TMJ area, the muscles of the jaw are allowed to relax and prevent it from contracting, decreasing the grinding or clenching, and in turn decreasing pain.
-Myofacial Pain Syndrome. This is considered a chronic pain disorder. This syndrome occurs when pressure is placed on sensitive points in your muscles. These are called trigger points. When this “trigger point” pressure occurs, the pain can does not always occur at the source, but may begin at a different location from the source of the pressure. This is called referred pain and may be very difficult to accurately diagnose. Myofacial pain syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress. Myofacial pain can stem from problems with your TMJ / jaw muscles, or forehead muscles. Myofacial pain can be sudden and debilitating.
-Arthritis. Early studies have shown that Botox injections appear to reduce arthritis pain in the shoulder, knee and hip. These results are promising, and may be helpful in patients with arthritis along with TMJ pain, but further research is needed.
When it comes to chronic pain it is difficult to predict how each patient will respond. It is important to note that an infection should always be ruled out, and diagnosis by your dentist or medical doctor should be conclusive before trying Botox treatment. Botox may just be the answer to many to relieve them of their chronic pain in the short term. While still being studied, it could be a key component in relieving the symptoms of those suffering from chronic pain.