What is Botox (Botulinum toxin)?
Botulinum toxin is a muscle-relaxant made from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.
There are four types of Botulinum toxin:
- OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox)
- RimabotulinumtoxinB (Myobloc)
- AbobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport)
- IncobotulinumtoxinA (Xeomin)
Botox treatment is usually for cosmetic purposes, such as to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines. However, Botox can also be used to treat medical conditions, such as cervical dystonia (when the neck muscles continuously contact), migraine headaches, blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking), and muscle contractions that cause teeth grinding and jaw-joint pain (TMJ), as well as the headaches that accompany these conditions.
How does Botox Work?
Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles, which stops the muscles contracting. Since the muscles no longer contract, wrinkled skin, such as on the forehead and around the eyes, can relax, which allows the lines to smooth out. in addition, botulinum toxin can last up to 3 months!
Along with treating wrinkles, studies have shown that Botox can treat chronic migraines. Since it is a muscle relaxant, adults who experience recurrent, throbbing headaches have benefitted from Botox. In 2010, the FDA approved Botox for the preventive treatment of chronic migraines. Someone who suffers from chronic migraines normally experiences headaches that last over four hours. These headaches continue for at least 15 days every month.
In the same way that Botox stops muscle contractions, scientists and doctors believe Botox blocks pain signals sent from the brain to the nerve endings in migraine and irregular muscle contraction patients.
Since Botox acts as a pain buffer and relaxant, other medical conditions that are a result of muscular pain are also minimised. For example, patients who suffer from temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), a disorder where jaw bones become swollen and painful and compromise jaw movement; as well as patients who clench or grind their teeth, can also benefit from the properties of botox.
How is the Botox Procedure Done?
When receiving Botox for cosmetic purposes, the procedure only takes a few minutes and causes minor discomfort in the muscles that are being injected. After a week or two, the Botox would have taken full effect, and will last for up to three to six months before the muscles need to be treated again. Fine lines and wrinkles will gradually return until the muscles are re-injected with Botox, as the effects of the relaxant wear off and the muscles begin to contract.
Patients who are being treated for migraines or irregular muscle contractions normally receive several shots of Botox around the head and neck once every 12 weeks to control the pain or muscle movement. Patients should notice results within two to three weeks of the first treatment.
Individuals who are looking for cosmetic or medical Botox must ensure that the medical professional is qualified to administer the required Botox treatment. For more information on our credentials, or to make an appointment, contact us today!