Botox For Facial Pain: What You Should Know About It And Other Therapies You Should Explore First
Health & Medical
Botox has attained celebrity status in the United States for its ability to safely and effectively eliminate and reduce wrinkles. However, Botox has also gained the attention of physicians, dentists and other medical professionals for its ability to combat other health problems, including chronic facial pain. If you suffer from chronic facial pain, then you may benefit from treatment with Botox doctors. However, before using Botox, you need to consider other treatment alternatives. Here is more information about facial pain, treatment options and why you should be cautious about using Botox as a first-line therapy:
Causes of chronic facial pain
Chronic facial pain can be a frustrating mystery for some people. Its causes are not always known, but there are several common culprits. Here are a few conditions often responsible for chronic facial pain:
- Dental problems – Some dental infections can cause facial pain, particularly abscessed or extremely sensitive teeth.
- Sinusitis – Both short-term and chronic sinus inflammation and infection can lead to facial pain. Some sinus pain can radiate into the upper jaw, where it can mimic tooth pain.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndromes – This condition causes pain at the junction of the lower jaw and upper jaw, and it is due to a variety of poorly-understood causes within the muscles and joints.
- Neuralgia – Facial neuralgia is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve; it is an extremely painful condition that causes intense episodic pain in the face. Pain attacks can strike without warning, and even faint stimuli such as a gentle touch can trigger attacks.
Botox as a treatment option
Botox was developed in the 1980s as a treatment for strabismus, a condition that prevents proper eye muscle movement. It proved to be successful for this, but in the 1990s, researchers discovered it can also inhibit wrinkle formation. Since that time, Botox has been introduced as a treatment option for facial pain as well as other medical conditions.
While Botox has show potential for facial pain relief, it also carries a few risks and drawbacks of varying degree:
- Expense – While not a medical risk, Botox is a costly medicine. It ranges in price between 350 and 500 dollars per cosmetic injection, and the price can be higher when used in greater quantities for other treatments.
- Toxicity – Botox is formulated from toxins produced by bacteria of the species Clostridium botulinum. The pure toxins are among the most toxic substances known to man, and the resulting illnesses caused by its ingestion are extremely serious. While Botox is safe to use under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, inadequately-trained health care professionals can make patients ill with overdoses of Botox.
- Short-term – The pain-reducing effects of Botox are temporary, and they will typically fade in two-to-three months. While future injections will provide relief, it is not a permanent solution as it only treats the pain, not the cause.
Preferred treatment options for facial pain
Since Botox isn't the best first-line treatment for facial pain, there are several other options that should be explored first. Here are some suggested treatments:
- Get a firm diagnosis – Your first step should be seeking the assistance of a qualified physician or dentist who specializes in facial pain. While it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of facial pain, a health care professional has the knowledge and resources to narrow down the possible causes. Fixing the problem, whenever possible, is the best option in all cases. For example, if it is discovered that your facial pain is a consequence of a deep-seated sinus infection, then you can be provided with a treatment that seeks to eliminate infection, rather than focus only on pain.
- Stretching and exercise – In many instances, facial pain is caused or aggravated by a patient's behavior. Teeth grinding, for example, can cause TMJ problems. You can treat such problems at home by using mouth and jaw stretching exercises to help relax facial muscles. Ask your doctor or dentist for assistance with planning a personalized facial muscle exercise routine.
- Medicines – While some over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, might help relieve your facial pain, the longest-lasting pharmaceutical treatments can be provided by your doctor or dentist. They may inject lidocaine, a common, safe local anesthetic, into specific muscle and nerve locations in your face, which should provide relief for a few weeks at a time. In addition, your doctor or dentist may also prescribe ethyl chloride in spray form; ethyl chloride provides immediate relief for pain and is simple to apply.
1 December 2014