9 SURPRISING USES OF BOTOX: NOT JUST FOR AESTHETICS
When you hear “Botox” what comes to mind first? For most, it is the thought of having needles poked into the skin to get a smoother face free of wrinkles and fine lines. According to statistics, over 15.9 million cosmetic procedures took place in the United States in 2018, and about 47% were Botox.
Surprisingly, Botox treatments have proven to be more than a beauty regimen, even though that is what they are most famous for. In this article, we will discuss nine ways Botox has proved to be more than just a cosmetic procedure. But first, let us talk a bit about it.
Overview of Botox and Its Uses
Botox is the name of a purified protein called botulinum toxin type A, a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium is popularly found in contaminated food and causes muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, and, in extreme cases, death. The effects of this species of bacteria on the body explain why Botox works as a neurotoxin or muscle relaxant.
Neurotoxins paralyze muscles temporarily by blocking receptors at junctions where nerves communicate with muscles. This is why it is commonly used to reduce muscle contraction in the face and, indirectly, the appearance of wrinkles. It is mainly administered as injections by a licensed healthcare professional, but as with even the most harmless medication, there are side effects and risks.
The obsession with getting flawless faces and meeting specific beauty standards is on the rise. So let us consider some cosmetic uses of this injection as it is one of the safest means of getting facial rejuvenation for both men and women. However, it is essential to note that you need to retake the injections every three to four months for lasting effects.
- Smooth Chin to Chest. Chest and neck wrinkles are bound to happen with time. Prolonged facial expressions, too, can contribute to these. Botox injections are given in these areas to smoothen out all the unwanted blemishes.
- Facelift. This injection also gives a temporary facelift without going under a knife. It can change the shape of your jaw, give your nose tip an elevated look, and eradicate the wrinkles on your forehead and eyes.
- Nose Job. If you are looking for a non-surgical procedure that mimics a rhinoplasty, getting Botox is an option. It is minimally invasive and very effective in changing the bridge and shape of your nose, improving your nose contour and the height of your nostril.
- Lip Filling. Another cosmetic use of this treatment is enhancing your lips without surgery or using lip fillers. All you need is little drops injected along the border of the upper lip to give your lips a plumper look.
- Acne treatment. Acne-prone skins struggle with finding suitable creams or serums to treat breakouts. The good news is that Botox has proven effective in reducing secretion from sebaceous glands. Injecting small portions of it into the face helps reduce the pores, which means less oil production and acne.
- Correcting Gingival Display. This condition is also known as the gummy smile, characterized by the upper gums being too exposed, especially while smiling. Orthodontists and dentists correct this through expensive and invasive procedures, but Botox also fixes it.
9 Alternative Uses of Botox You Should Know
The mechanism of action of Botox has been shown to reduce wrinkles effectively. When applied to other areas of the body, it produces the same effect. So here are some medical conditions you can use Botox to treat. Please note not all of these are FDA approved, so only a doctor can provide guidance on the right treatment for a specific condition.
The effect of Botox on migraines came into the limelight after a plastic surgeon reported that after his patients received the injection to reduce wrinkles, they experienced fewer episodes of tension headaches. In most cases, migraines occur due to the upper facial muscles contracting, which puts pressure on the bones, resulting in pain.
As a relaxant, Botox helps relax these muscles, reducing pain. However, this injection will not prevent chronic migraines, but it can reduce their impact, how frequently they occur, and how long they last when they occur. To treat this condition, injections are given in about 31 spots around the neck and head. The effect of these injections lasts for about three months, but you could start noticing changes as soon as the next day.
It is a medical condition characterized by uncoordinated movements of the eyelids or involuntary muscle contractions (eye twitching). Blepharospasm occurs when there is abnormal functioning of the part of the brain controlling the movement of the eyelids. It sends multiple signals to the eyelids’ muscles which results in spasms.
When Botox is injected into these muscles, it disrupts these signals from being sent, so the muscle relaxes and involuntarily stops. With time, individuals suffering from this can focus and align their eyes. You can also take this injection to correct strabismus (crossed eyes); Botox was initially created for those with this condition before it was found to stop facial spasms.
Imagine not being able to control one’s bladder, thereby having leaks. Well, another condition that Botox can be used for is urinary urgency. It is effective in keeping an overactive bladder under control. Bladder incontinence often affects older women as a result of a neurologic-related disease.
Anesthesia is first injected into the bladder muscle through a catheter. Then the Botox shot is injected through a tiny needle. However, it is a temporary fix that lasts about 6 to 8 weeks and takes about a week to two before it takes effect.
Have you seen some people get injections in their underarms? Well, they are likely suffering from hyperhidrosis. It is a medical condition that results in excessive sweating in areas like the hands, feet, armpits, and even faces. Botox treats this by preventing the nervous system from sending stimuli to the brain that stimulate the sweat glands.
The areas that produce sweat in excess can be more sensitive to pain, so a numbing cream is first applied to the area 15 minutes before the injection. Then 50 units of Botox are used on each side to cover the sweat glands. The results could last six months or more with occasional maintenance treatments.
If you have issues passing food from your stomach to your intestines, a shot of Botox might be all you need. Pyloric sphincter is a muscle in the digestive system responsible for connecting the stomach to the small intestine. If this muscle is not relaxed, food will not pass, which is where a Botox injection comes in to relax it. People recovering from esophageal cancer surgery might need this.
Severe Neck and Shoulder Pain
Some people suffer from chronic posterior neck pain or shoulder myofascial pain syndrome. These are usually characterized by neck and shoulder pains. However, Botox injections help reduce how severe these pains are by relaxing the muscles involved. In the long run, these individuals can sleep better and have an improved quality of life without going through chronic pain.
Another use of this toxin is to prevent pain in the feet. Foot pain is common as it supports the entire weight of the body. Wearing certain shoes or wear and tear between joints in the feet can also result in pain in the foot. So Botox can prevent contracture or tightening of tendons and muscles if injected into your foot.
Another use of Botox you probably did not know is for treating cold hands. Cold hands do not necessarily signify a severe medical condition, but they could result from blood not properly circulating to the hands. This is where an injection of Botox can work to relax the muscles that constrict the blood vessels and prevent blood flow. After the vessels are relaxed, proper circulation is restored to the hands and fingertips. This can last for up to three months before another round is needed.
You already know Botox is a muscle relaxant that can help reduce involuntary contractions, which could lead to spasticity. It has proven to help improve the range of motion across joints and alleviate pain associated with movement. This treatment is recommended once every three months, and if done along with physical therapy, long-term results can be achieved.
This article must have changed your perception of Botox treatments. If you develop any of these medical conditions, you might consider getting one someday. However, you should only use it under medical supervision.
Remember, you cannot self-administer. This implies it could quickly go wrong if an expert does not give the shot. Botox deserves more credit than given in the world of cosmetics and medicine. With increasing advancement, alternative uses will emerge, and it could be the next universal potent.
- 2018 NATIONAL PLASTIC SURGERY STATISTICS
- Anticholinergic Therapy vs. OnabotulinumtoxinA for Urgency Urinary Incontinence
- Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Prospective analysis of the use of OnabotulinumtoxinA (BOTOX) in the treatment of chronic migraine; real-life data in 254 patients from Hull, UK
- Botox injections reduce chronic neck and cervical muscle pain
Disclaimer: Please note that Mya Care does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is not intended to replace the care or advice of a qualified health care professional. The views expressed are personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mya Care. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen. Do not reproduce, copy, reformat, publish, distribute, upload, post, transmit, transfer in any manner or sell any of the materials in this blog without prior written permission from myacare.com.
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