Because of its excellent safety profile, ease of procedure, and quick rejuvenating results, Botox® Cosmetic (botulinum toxin type A) has become the most common, FDA-approved, cosmetic office procedure. Botox is known for the cosmetic treatment of frown lines between the brows and for “crow’s feet” lines around the eyes. Although the procedure has become a part of our culture, often people ask, “Is there anything I can tell my friends about getting Botox that doesn’t make me seem vain?” YES! In addition to its use in facial rejuvenation, Botox may improve both physical and mental health. With Botox injections becoming increasingly more common among patients with chronic health complications, many patients often find this alternative more effective than surgery or the use of prescription medications. The following summarizes the use of Botox to treat common medical conditions:
- Facial rejuvenation.
Forehead creases, crow’s feet, perioral lines, lifting eyebrows and corners of mouth. Originally used in humans in 1978 by ophthalmologists for treatment of eyelid muscle spasms, Botox has been used for over 20 years to relax the muscles around the eyes, forehead and other parts of the face. It works by inhibiting nerve endings from releasing acetylcholine, a hormone which stimulates muscle.
- Jaw clenching TMJ syndrome.
When injected into facial muscles afflicted with soreness and discomfort, Botox relieves TMJ and jaw tension for many patients. The injections often eliminate headaches resulting from teeth grinding, and in cases of severe stress, Botox can minimize jaw lock.
- Tension and migraine headaches.
Nerves in the forehead release a variety of peptides and hormones which can stimulate pain and vasospasm. Many people who get Botox for cosmetic goals find that there’s a concurrent therapeutic effect on tension and migraine headaches, and that it’s more effective than traditional prescription therapies such as Imitrex.
- Excess sweating in underarms and palms.
Botox prevents sweating because the release of acertycholine from nerves also stimulates sweat glands. This effect lasts around nine months.
- Eyelid Spasm.
This therapeutic dimension of Botox was first discovered by Dr. Alan Scott in 1978.
- Seasonal of chronic depression.
Relaxing the muscles which cause frowning allows the brain to secrete more endorphins. Patients often return each fall or winter for Botox because they find it better than any drug for preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For some, it’s truly like an annual vaccine or flu shot for depression, and lessens the need to prescription medication such as Zoloft, Lexapro, and Prozac.
- Nasal congestion and rhinitis.
Just ads hypersecretion of sweat glands can be eliminated with Botox, so too can Botox modulate nasal hypersecretions. Studies have shown that a Botox-infused sponge significantly reduces nasal congestion, and can be used as an alternative to prescription steroids such as Flonase.
- Chronic neck or back pain.
Botox has emerged as a leading therapeutic agent in treating neck spasms, as well as chronic neuromuscular pain conditions.
- Overactive bladder.
Botox reduces involuntary bladder muscle contractions. This can replace the need for prescription medications such as Detrol and Vesicare.
- Post-surgical wound healing.
When a surgical wound on the face is closed, Botox can be strategically used to relax adjacent muscles and minimize tension on the wound, thus enhancing and healing. Botox treatment around surgical sites has also been shown to reduce post-surgical pain.
Originally from PRO Pulse July-August 2014
By Dr. Daniel Levy