People who suffer from TMJ disorders may go through many treatment options before finding something that works well. One treatment option that has been gaining in popularity is using Botox® to alleviate symptoms. Patients who go for this method have usually tried other more traditional forms of symptom relief without success.
The use of Botox® to treat TMJ symptoms
In many cases, the cause behind the development of a TMJ disorder is never determined, so the focus remains on finding ways to relieve symptoms of the condition. Symptoms include jaw pain, poor mobility of the jaw and pain away from the jaw, such as headaches. Using Botox® can alleviate some or all of these symptoms for some patients.
How does the treatment work?
Botox® injections as a treatment for TMJ take place over two to three treatment sessions. During each session, the solution is injected into several places, including the forehead, temple and jaw muscles. Each area may receive multiple injections of different amounts, depending on what the doctor determines is a good course of treatment.
After the injections are complete, aftercare directions may include a prescription numbing cream or a cold compress. The headaches and jaw stiffness associated with TMJ are caused by tightness of the muscles near the jaw, so injecting these muscles with Botox® limits their mobility.
How long can patients expect to feel relief?
As with all Botox® sessions, injections for TMJ relief do not take effect immediately. Some symptoms may begin to subside within the first couple of days, but it is more likely to take several days to begin to see if the treatment was effective. At least two to three sessions may be necessary to determine the success of the treatment plan. If symptoms improve significantly, the patient will need to maintain the results through regularly scheduled follow-up injection sessions. The results from each session typically last between three and six months, but sessions can also be scheduled more or less frequently.
Who makes a good candidate for this procedure?
Patients who decide to try Botox® injections to improve symptoms of TMJ have usually tried other options. Medications such as pain relievers and muscle relaxers are frequently prescribed to treat the condition first. Some lifestyle changes can also be effective, including the avoidance of activities that irritate the jaw such as chewing on non-food items and smoking.
Good candidates for Botox® typically have already tried such methods with limited or no relief. The patient should be experiencing chronic symptoms associated with TMJ, such as jaw pain and stiffness, teeth grinding, reduced or limited mobility in the jaw, headaches and overactive jaw muscles. Although it is not an FDA-approved treatment, patients frequently report significant relief from symptoms.
Although not a traditional treatment prescribed by physicians, using Botox® to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ has become a popular practice in many areas. Patients who experience significant symptoms and have not been able to find relief using other methods may turn to injections to try a new source of relief.
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