PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Botox is becoming a super drug for many health conditions, many of which might surprise you. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is On Your Side with more.
Botox is currently FDA approved to treat more than a half of dozen problems, including migraines, wrinkles even underarm sweating. Now doctors are using it off label to treat a painful condition that affects millions, and are testing it for other problems.
Laurie Violi suffered for two decades with excruciating pain in her jaw, that went straight to her head.
“I had such bad headaches, and I couldn’t sleep at night,” said Laurie.
She’s one of about 10 million people living with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ.
“The chewing muscles that you have here, they swell up okay. And they have inflammation in them and the reason usually is because of a clenching or grinding problem,” said Dr. Salomon Maya, a Dentist.
Laurie tried mouth guards, and even had her teeth shaved down. She finally got relief when her dentist used Botox.
“It’s by far the best thing,” said Laurie.
Dr. Maya injects 10 to 12 areas around Laurie’s jaw and face every three or four months.
“When you inject it into the jaw muscle, you are relaxing that muscle,” said Dr. Maya.
Jaw pain is just one area doctors are testing Botox on. There are more than 300 studies to see if it can help treat a variety of conditions, like Parkinson’s Disease, back pain, even acne.
Laurie is thankful it’s bringing relief.
“It’s changed my life completely,” said Laurie.
Doctors recommend people with TMJ try other traditional treatment first, like mouth guards, hot and cold packs and eating soft foods, but they’re finding Botox can bring relief.
It can cost around $500 per treatment.
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania offers patients Botox for jaw pain. For more information call their Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center at 215-662-3580.
Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3