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I no longer subscribe to the botox taboo

By: Alexandra Grieco

Is medical botox as painless as people say? What is the hype surrounding these injections, anyway?

The cultural conversation around Botox tends to go two ways; neither is positive. The first perception is that Botox is reserved for the hush-hush Hollywood stars who pump their faces then lie through their teeth about their procedures. The second view is that Botox is an anti-aging strategy used by older women in vain to regain their lost youth.

With either of these opinions, Botox is seen as a procedure with shallow purposes. Though much can be said about the problematic nature of plastic surgery, Botox also has alternate uses that go beyond beautification.

I have TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, a very common syndrome that causes you to grind your teeth, resulting in persistent jaw pain or locking of the jaw. Through my constant aches and pains, the muscles that control my jaw movement swelled up.

To cancel out my puffed-out face and cramped-up muscles, I searched the internet for every low-cost method of diminishing TMJ. Online articles, TikToks, and Youtube videos about every holistic treatment imaginable influenced me to try various facial exercises, tools, and massaging methods.

Through my research, I committed myself to Gua Sha, the traditional Chinese medicine of scraping your skin using a flat tool to relieve tension. Though it helped manage my pain in a significant way, my TMJ was still flaring up from the stress of school.

So, I decided to try a more invasive approach.

Botox paralyzes muscles, which allows the injected facial feature to relax completely. When Botox is injected into the masseter muscle, or the muscle that controls chewing and grinding your teeth, it prevents future stressing of the jaw. Botox results for TMJ purposes usually last about four to six months, though it differs from person to person.

I had my injections done by my orthodontist, who was adamant about giving a young person a procedure usually reserved for people with deep-set wrinkles and many years of life behind them. He shook his head, pinched the side of my jaw, and stuck the needle deep into my face.

Within the first few days of having the Botox injected, I felt my jaw loosen and relax for the first time in years. I also saw the bottom half of my face slim down, no longer swollen and puffy.

Before I understood the many uses of Botox, I always associated it with the frozen faces of glamorous older women. I also noted the societal view of the procedure, which is usually not a good one.

However, my experience with injecting my face for the sake of medicine changed my perspective on what Botox’s uses can be. I now find Botox to have many positive aspects, with healing abilities that many are unaware of. As a medical treatment, Botox may be the unexpected answer to your problems.


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