Botox is a protein that is produced by a bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum; a purified version is used in medical treatments. Botox can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions including chronic migraines, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), TMJ pain and blepharospasm (eye muscle spasms). Botox works by preventing certain nerves from communicating with their targets whether it is a muscle or sweat gland.
In chronic migraines, Botox works to target the sensory nerves that have become inflamed and hypersensitive. It blocks the transmitters that relay pain which are blocked by having the medication injected into them using very small needles. This treatment was first approved in 2011 by Health Canada and has been recommended since for patients suffering from chronic migraines. Chronic migraine suffers can expect to see an improvement in the frequency and intensity of their migraines after Botox treatments which usually last for about 3 months before requiring another treatment.
Hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating and can affect armpits, hands and other areas. If other treatments such as prescription antiperspirants fail, then Botox can be tried. In hyperhidrosis treatment, Botox is injected just below the skin’s surface using a very small needle. You can expect several needles in the affected area to ensure all the interacting nerves are treated. The effects of Botox on hyperhidrosis can last up to 8 months, making it a long term solution.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Pain
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain can also be alleviated with Botox and treatment is similar to that of the migraine injections. The medication is injected into the nerves of the temporomandibular joint. Pain is usually controlled by the use of Botox for up to 6-9 months.
Blepharospasm is the abnormal contraction of eyelid muscles causing excessive blinking. Botox can target the nerves that control the eyelid muscles and stop them from contracting. This will involve a few injections of Botox given with small needles to the area. Treatment results can last for up to 6 months or longer for some individuals.