Can BOTOX Help With TMJ and Migraines?
Can Botox(R) help with TMJ and migraines? For many people, the answer is “yes.” Chronic pain–including migraines and jaw pain triggered by clenching or grinding teeth can often be reduced by injecting Botox into key muscle groups in the face and neck.
First, let’s talk about TMJ or temporomandibular joint pain.
The hinge-like temporal mandibular joint is easy to feel if you place your hand just in front of the ear and open and close your jaw. TMJ pain–also referred to as TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder–is frequently described as a deep ache in the muscle, along with a popping sound when patients open or close their mouths. TMJ disorders occur for a variety of reasons. This includes arthritis, an injury or even genetics as well as teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
Clenching your teeth and jaw can also lead to tension headaches, which are sometimes called “stress headaches.” This can be caused by physical stress, which can include sitting at and leaning towards a computer, as well as by emotional stress, such as dealing with increased responsibility at work. In addition to headache and jaw pain, you may feel pain, strain or fatigue in your neck muscles.
So how does Botox (botulinum toxin) work to resolve these symptoms? By carefully injecting it into the large masseter muscle, it restricts the muscles involved, thus reducing pain.
Botox is proven to work effectively for the treatment of chronic migraine headaches for many patients. It essentially stops the headaches before they start. As explained by the American Migraine Foundation,
“Botox is injected around pain fibers that are involved in headaches. Botox enters the nerve endings around where it is injected and blocks the release of chemicals involved in pain transmissions. This prevents activation of pain networks in the brain.”
Botox doesn’t make migraines go away, but our patients and those in national studies report a significant decrease in the number of migraine headache days throughout the month.