Botox injections can be hugely helpful in treating both medical and cosmetic complaints as such treatment makes use of a specific property of a naturally-derived protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. While it might sound odd to be treated using a substance made by bacteria it’s interesting to note that more than half of the medicines we use on a regular basis are derived from flora and fauna and that many of these are also, technically, toxins.
The venom of a viper or the saliva of a tick both contain powerful anti-clotting agents, while the puffer fish toxin (tetrodotoxin – deadly to some inexperienced knife-wielding chefs) may be a potent painkiller to help those undergoing chemotherapy to cope with chronic pain. Botox is one of the best studied of these natural substances as it has been used for a variety of medical and cosmetic purposes since the early 70s.
The Many Benefits of Botox
Botox has proved useful in treating eye tics, strabismus, headaches, trigger points, and even sweating, as well as for neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, temporomandibular joint disorder, neck pain, back pain, and arthritis. These injections work for such conditions because Botox blocks acetylcholine receptors in motor nerves but not sensory nerves. What this means is that sensation is preserved but the abnormal muscular twitches, spasms, and tics can be stopped which often eliminates the source of chronic pain.
Using Botox to treat chronic pain conditions can offer freedom from a daily regime of pain medications such as narcotics, and muscle relaxants with their plethora of side effects. The benefits of this quick and effective treatment can last as long as a year, which can significantly reduce medication costs, loss of working hours, and improve quality of life.
Cosmetic Botox – An Accidental Discovery!
The cosmetic benefits of Botox were discovered largely by accident, with a Canadian husband and wife (an ophthalmologist and dermatologist) first publishing a study on the use of Botulinum toxin-A for treatment of glabellar lines (frown lines between the eyebrows) back in 1992. JD and JA Carruthers were at the forefront of this innovative new cosmetic treatment which has subsequently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada for a variety of cosmetic purposes.
How Botox Offers Double the Benefits for Anti-Ageing
Many of the cosmetic applications of Botox benefit not only from the muscle relaxing action of the injection themselves, thus ironing out deep wrinkles formed by contracted muscles, but also from an increase in circulation to the area as the muscles relax. Improved circulation helps bring oxygen and nutrients to the skin, improving skin quality and health and actually helping to stave off future wrinkle development. Improved circulation also helps reduce inflammation and pain, breaking the cycle of muscle tension, pain, stress, and more muscle tension. Botox is not, then, just a way of masking pain it can directly address underlying neuromuscular issues connected to tension headaches and other sources of pain.
Safety First – Know Thy Injector
It’s important when looking for a Botox injector to seek out someone who is experienced and who prioritizes safety. The bad rap that Botox sometimes gets in the press is almost always due to a poorly trained injector using the substance inappropriately. When used by a practiced, well-trained certified general physician or dermatologist, Botox injections can be a highly effective part of anti-ageing treatments and medical therapy.
Combined Botox Dermatological Therapy
Botox can be particularly beneficial when used alongside dermal fillers such as Juvederm, and/or with laser skin resurfacing to even out skin tone and texture. When combined with such techniques, Botox injections are a great way to create a soft lift effect that refreshes the appearance, smooths, and softens the skin, with cosmetic result most often showing good control for around four months, helping to retrain facial muscles.
Injections of Botox to forehead frown lines, for example, can restore a youthful open expression, replacing that worn, severe or worried look that can make us appear unfriendly, angry, or sad. Botox can have a positive effect on how others read your expression, seeing you as being friendlier, more open and relaxed. Baby boomers who still feel every bit as young and exuberant as in their twenties appreciate that Botox offers an opportunity to create an outward reflection of that youthful spirit and there’s no better time to give it a try than at the start of a new year!