BOTOX can treat migraine, TMJ and jaw pain. However, only recently doctors found the way BOTOX treat pain. BOTOX is the most potent toxin known to mankind. It is used to treat many medical conditions. Among the many medical conditions BOTOX can treat are tics, muscle spasm, chronic migraine, over active bladder and excessive hands sweating. However, researchers found that TMJ BOTOX can successfully reduce TMJ pain and TMJ headache. On the other hands, BOTOX cannot stop bruxism.
Dr. Khalifeh is a TMJ and Orofacial Pain board certified specialist, he will explain the 3 ways BOTOX for TMJ may help reduce TMJ pain.
1. The Effect of the Needle and the BOTOX TMJ Diluting Solution on the Jaw Muscles
Both, the needle and the diluting saline solution used during BOTOX injections stimulate muscle healing. In other words, the irritation caused by the injection stimulates healing and increase blood supply to the injected painful jaw muscle.
2. BOTOX Relaxes Tight Jaw Muscles
Patients with TMJ disorder usually have tight jaw muscles. However, BOTOX is a very strong muscle relaxant. When injected in the tight jaw muscle, BOTOX prevent the release of Acetyl Choline, a chemical needed for the jaw muscles to contract. In this way, BOTOX will relax the tight jaw muscle that is causing TMJ and jaw pain.
In general, muscle relaxation effect of BOTOX lasts 3-4 months. This explains why TMJ BOTOX may be needed every 3-4 months.
3. BOTOX Blocks Pain Receptors in the Central Nervous System
For long time, doctors believed that BOTOX reduce jaw pain and other muscles pain by relaxing muscle tightness. While the effect of the BOTOX needle and the diluting saline solution are short acting, lasting only hours or days. Muscle relaxing effect of BOTOX cannot explain how BOTOX reduce migraine headache where muscles has nothing to do with migraine.
In 2017, Dr. Khalifeh was asked by a toxicology scientific journals to review a research paper before publication. The research revealed that BOTOX toxin when injected to the human body get absorbed by the peripheral nerves and travels to the central nervous system. In the central nervous system, BOTOX block the pain substance from connecting to the pain receptors. Whenever pain substance fail to connect to the pain receptors, pain signals will not be generated. Pain signals are required and must travel to the pain center in the brain cortex for humans to feel pain.
In conclusion, BOTOX reduce TMJ and jaw pain using 3 methods. The most effective pain reduction of BOTOX is by preventing pain substance from connecting to pain receptors in the central nervous system. At the same time, BOTOX may not treat bruxism.
Dr. Khalifeh has been helping patients with complex TMJ disorder conditions for many years. He is board certified specialist by the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a Fellow, American Academy of Orofacial Pain. Dr. Khalifeh is also teaching Orofacial Pain and Oral Medicine residents at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.