BOTOX INJECTION THERAPY: TMJ AND HEADACHES

Although treatment with Botox is generally associated with cosmetic procedures such as minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, it has been proven by clinical research and clinical practice to have an effective therapeutic and prophylactics effect on  certain types of migraines and headaches. Botox treatment is effective for tension-type headaches where the pain is caused by chronic muscle contraction and stress. 


Each case of headache presents differently and requires a screening session. In some cases, we work closely with your family doctor to develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your type of headache and/or migraine. Our staff are very knowledgeable in the field and will take the time to discuss with you the treatment options available to you and whether you are a candidate for Botox treatment.


TENSION HEADACHES

Tension headaches or stress headaches are the most common type of headaches affecting working adults, university students, new moms and people who are undergoing major life changes. The most common causes of tension headaches are physical and emotional stress, fatigue, clenching and grinding teeth, and anxiety. 


There are two main types of tension headaches: 

1- Episodic: mild to moderate pain around the forehead or back of the head and neck, occurring less than 15 days per month.

2- Chronic: prolonged and fluctuating pain, sometimes throbbing and usually affecting the around the front, top or sides of the head occurring more than 15 times per month.


While some tension headaches can be managed with over-the-counter pain killers (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc), or meditation and relaxation techniques, there are some headaches that are more severe and/or persistent in nature, which may require other techniques. A complete evaluation of the myofacial structures is recommended before the prescription of Botox Injections based on individual cases.


Although often described as minor or moderate, tension headaches can be debilitating and impact one’s quality of life and performance at work. They can cause nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, bad mood, irritability and may impact sleep. Treatment at the early onset of symptoms is always the best strategy.


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TMJ DISORDERS

The (TMJ), the temporomandibular joints are hinge-like sliding ball and socket joints located in front of the ear and allows the articulation of the upper and lower jaws. It’s one of the most used joints in the body as it moves the lower jaw during biting, chewing, talking, and yawing. It’s under tremendous stress throughout the day and in some cases at night if patients grind.


Disorders of the TMJ can manifest as clicking and popping sounds, pain, headaches, malocclusion, and stiffness. These symptoms can be chronic and are commonly misdiagnosed as they are seemingly unrelated to a jaw disorder. 


Teeth grinding and clenching are strong contributors to TMJ disorders. What makes these most challenging to combat is that often the patient is unaware of the behaviour. Frequently, it will be a spouse who notices grinding during the night; or a dental professional detecting signs of wear and tear on the teeth.


Bite issues (malocclusion) also can contribute to the development of TMJ disorders. Overcompensating for a deficient bite on one side of the jaw, can tax the other side and result in TMJ problems. Other contributing factors include habitual gum chewing/nail biting; jaw trauma, including fractures in the jaw or facial bones; stress, and repetitive occupational behaviours, such as holding a telephone between the head and shoulders.


Depending upon the severity of the disorder, treatment for TMJ disorders can range from rest and ice to surgery. Some disorders can be treated using custom-made nightguards, other cases require orthodontics. Treatment with clear aligners can be beneficial that the aligners act as nightguards while correcting the bite problems. In many cases, injecting Botox into jaw muscles alone or as an adjunct to an orthodontic appliance, may provide dramatic relief to patients. Usually, after 2-3 sessions of Botox, the muscles are rehabilitated and the TMJ disorder is eliminated.


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