What first comes to mind when you think of Botox injections? For most people, they think of Botox as an effective anti-aging and wrinkle treatment. Indeed, this injection has become highly popular in our society to help people smooth out fine lines on their face and make them look years younger. However, many people turn to Botox not only for cosmetic reasons, but also as a therapeutic treatment to improve their daily living. Did you know that this chemical can also be used to treat different medical conditions? It is a medical-grade drug, approved by Health Canada and the FDA for medical usage for over 25 years.
Botox can be prescribed to treat several conditions, such as:
- Chronic migraine
- Overactive bladder
- Excessive salivating
- Eye disorders
- Cervical dystonia
- TMJ disorder
For this post, we will focus on the two of the more common medical uses of Botox: for treatment of chronic migraines and hyperhidrosis.
The discovery of Botox injections as a treatment for chronic migraine was a “happy accident”. When being injected with Botox for cosmetic purposes, people reported experiencing a reduction in headaches and migraines. Because of this, it became a preventative treatment for chronic migraines and was FDA-approved in 2010, and Health Canada-approved soon after in 2011.
To treat migraines, Botox is injected 31 times into 7 different areas of the head and neck muscles. For optimal treatment, the patient should be injected every 12 weeks. When this chemical is injected into a muscle, it causes paralysis by stopping the release of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter is then blocked from carrying pain signals to the nerve endings in the head and neck.
Botox does not stop migraines entirely, but people report having fewer headaches and migraines throughout the month (chronic migraine sufferers have headaches or migraines at least 15 days of the month). This is an excellent treatment for migraines because it is a preventative treatment—you can stop the migraine days before they even start instead of using medication when one is already coming on.
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Botox is also a popular FDA and Health Canada approved treatment of hyperhidrosis—also known as excessive sweating—for almost 20 years. It is most commonly injected into the underarms, but can also be used to treat hyperhidrosis of the hands, feet, face, or scalp. Again, this treatment was discovered through the cosmetic use of Botox: doctors noticed that patients’ faces were sweating less after the chemical was injected into the forehead to treat wrinkles.
When Botox is used to treat hyperhidrosis, it is injected into the skin, instead of the muscle. This then blocks the neurotransmitters from telling your sweat glands from secrete sweat. It will only prevent sweat in the area the Botox is injected, but it will bot cause you will not sweat more in other areas. If you are using this treatment, you may find that you still need to use a deodorant, because this does not prevent body odour. Many people are hesitant to seek treatment for hyperhidrosis, as excessive sweating is an embarrassing subject that is not often talked about. Getting Botox treatments can greatly improve their daily living and increase their confidence.
Botox is now widely accepted to treat a variety of medical conditions, and many consider it essential to improve their every day life. Even today, doctors are continuing their research to find more medical uses for Botox. While injecting a toxin into a muscle to cause temporary paralysis may sound scary, it is safe when administered by a trained medical professional.
If you are considering Botox as a treatment for a medical condition, but are worried about the cost, there’s great news for you! As Botox is a prescription drug that must be prescribed by a medical doctor, it may be covered under your private insurance plan. If you have coverage for prescription drugs, your prescription may be partially covered by insurance, as long as it is deemed medically necessary by a doctor.
If you have more questions about Botox and its many uses, or are thinking of using Botox to treat a medical condition, contact us at Canada MedLaser today in Toronto for a free consultation!