Most people think of botulinum toxin A, which is sold under the brand name Botox®, as a wrinkle fighter. However, this drug is much more than a wrinkle-reducer. Botulinum toxin A also has therapeutic uses, some of which might surprise you.
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When injected into a muscle, Botox blocks nerves in the muscle, which temporarily weakens them. For patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, this reduces the hyperactivity of jaw and related muscles that are working too hard, and helps break the chronic pain cycle. Researchers also have found that Botox can effectively reduce muscular jaw pain in people who had not responded to other conservative treatments.
Lifestyle modifications such as getting more sleep, adequate exercise and being mindful about drinking enough water, are the first line of defense in treatment of chronic headaches in children. But when those don’t work, doctors may suggest medication, including Botox injections.
Botox has the ability to relax contracted muscles and release muscle spasms. Doctors can use Botox to treat muscle spasms in the pelvic floor, which are the muscles that support the organs in the pelvis, and to ease certain types of pelvic pain, including pain during intercourse. The injections can also treat painful contractions of the vagina referred to as vaginismus.
It can happen at the most inconvenient time. You need to pee, and it’s got you running for the bathroom. A strong urge to urinate is the hallmark symptom of overactive bladder. Botox injections can help treat this condition by paralyzing muscles in the bladder to prevent accidental urination. While this treatment is often successful, a potential problem is incomplete emptying of the bladder and retention of urine.