Botox for Pain Relief: A Crooked Smile and Unexpected Side Effects

9 December 2023

Brittany Ngo’s experience with Botox highlights the potential risks and complications associated with using the popular cosmetic treatment for medical purposes.

When 38-year-old Brittany Ngo decided to try Botox injections to alleviate the chronic facial pain caused by her nerve condition, she never expected to develop a crooked smile as a side effect. While Botox is commonly associated with reducing wrinkles, it is also used to treat various medical conditions, including migraines and teeth grinding. Ngo’s experience sheds light on the potential risks and complications that can arise when using Botox for medical purposes.

The Promise of Botox for Pain Relief

Ngo, who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia, a condition characterized by chronic facial pain, turned to Botox as a potential solution. Her neurologist suggested the treatment, citing its effectiveness in reducing pain associated with nerve conditions. Intrigued by the possibility of relief, Ngo agreed to give it a try.

The Unforeseen Side Effect

After receiving a dozen Botox injections around the affected area, Ngo noticed her smile starting to droop on the left side of her face. While her neurologist had warned her about the possibility of a slight facial droop, the side effect worsened over time. Concerned about her condition, Ngo sought advice from the r/30PlusSkinCare Reddit community, where users expressed worry about a potential stroke or facial paralysis.

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Understanding the Side Effect

Upon revisiting her neurologist, Ngo received confirmation that she was not experiencing a stroke or Bell’s palsy but rather an extreme side effect of the Botox injections. The doctor attributed the drooping smile to a higher-than-optimal dosage of Botox in that particular area. To prevent future occurrences, Ngo’s neurologist advised her to document her symptoms and share them with the administering physician for future sessions.

Waiting for the Botox to Wear Off

Unfortunately for Ngo, there is no immediate solution to her crooked smile. The effects of Botox typically wear off naturally after around three months, although it can take longer in some cases. Despite over a month passing since her injections, Ngo has yet to see any improvement in her smile.

The Impact on Daily Life

While Ngo has adjusted to the feeling of her crooked smile and has not experienced significant issues with eating, the side effect has made her self-conscious in public. The noticeable change in her appearance has led others to mistakenly assume she had a stroke. Ngo has even had to miss out on taking holiday photos with her family this year due to her condition.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Ngo’s experience has left her uncertain about whether she will undergo Botox treatment again in the future. While she did notice a slight improvement in her facial pain, she worries about the potential for similar side effects. Ngo acknowledges that neurologists prioritize pain relief over cosmetic concerns when administering Botox and has contemplated seeking treatment from a cosmetic surgeon. However, the logistics of insurance coverage remain a concern.

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Conclusion: Brittany Ngo’s journey with Botox for pain relief highlights the importance of considering the potential risks and complications associated with the treatment. While Botox has proven effective for many medical conditions, it is crucial for patients and healthcare providers to carefully assess the dosage and potential side effects. Ngo’s experience serves as a reminder that even well-established treatments can have unexpected outcomes, underscoring the need for informed decision-making and ongoing communication between patients and their healthcare professionals.

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