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BoTox Therapy

In BoTox therapy, botulinum toxin is injected into the problem muscle(s). It has the effect of blocking the receptors on muscles, thereby cutting off signals from the brain. This is the same toxin that causes botulism poisoning. However, in smaller amounts, it causes localized paralysis. BoTox has been used for neuromuscular disorders, such as tics and crossed eyes, for more than 10 years.

The effects of BoTox only last from two to six months, although after repeated injections, there is some hope of permanent damage.

Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The toxin appears to weaken the muscle sufficiently to reduce the spasm but not so much as to cause paralysis; it works by blocking transmission at the neuromuscular junction.

I am injected (on the right side) into the muscle in my temple (up under the scalp a bit in a couple of places), the muscle that feels like it's on the outside of my lower jaw (but maybe it's in-between? can't tell) in two or three places, and from inside my mouth, a couple of times into the muscle that's in-between my upper and lower jaw. The doctor connects an electrical lead to the syringe, and contacts on my skin, to take an EMG (electromyograph: it graphically monitors/records the electrical activity of the muscle; the info is displayed on a computer monitor where it appears much like the lines of a polygraph reading -- it spikes highest in the places where there is the most electrical activity, and provides a sound reading as well, crackling like a Geiger counter would with radiation), to be sure that he pinpoints the location of the highest muscle activity before he injects the botulinum toxin.

snake on pole

NOTE: I should mention that on the road to discovering BoTox therapy, I tried everything else imaginable to get rid of the muscle spasms, going to my regular doctor and regular dentist before being referred to the first otolaryngologist I saw and the dentists specializing in TMJ, including acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, biofeedback, "stress management," and an assortment of drugs including muscle relaxers and antidepressants.

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