The other day I ran into Dr. Kamlyn Pillay at the Longevity/Dermalogica/ex-Miss SA bash. We had a nice little catch up, but mostly I bitched about the killer tension headache that was ruining my day. I’m an angst-riddled jaw clencher, you see… and while I don’t grind my teeth at night, I tend to subconsciously ‘bite’ (usually when I’m concentrating or typing – which is all the time) in such a way that causes the muscles in the top of my head, usually the left hand side, to go into a merry little spasm. (It’s called TMJ and you can read more about it over here.) This is why I’m probably going to die of liver failure in my 40’s due to all the Adco-dol (my fave, super-cheap OTC muscle relaxant) I tend to pop like Smarties.
Anyway, according to Dr. P, if you inject a bit of botox into certain muscles in your lower jar (as well as one or two in the temple), you can weaken them to the extent that they can’t seize up and give you headaches. He very kindly offered to give me a li’l blitzing and, being a big fan of botox in general and desp to try anything that could offer relief, I immediately took him up on it.
Upon arrival at the Wembley Clinic where Dr. Pillay works as the Medical Director, I had a numbing lotion rubbed into my jaw. It kicked in within minutes so by the time he actually needled me it only took a matter of minutes and didn’t hurt a bit. Despite this, he still gives your arm a gentle squeeze after each and every shot and asks if you’re okay making him one of the sweetest, kindest aesthetic docs in Cape Town. (When he showed me a few pics of various procedures he’d done, I commented that one of the women’s before shots looked ‘uber rough’ like she ‘worked in a German prison’ and he was all ‘Shaaaammme!!! She’s the nicest, sweetest lady you’ll ever meet…’ and I immediately felt like a horrible, evil cow.)
Anyway, for those of you who haven’t had botox, you might not know that it doesn’t work straight away. You need to wait around five days for the effects to kick in. Thus, it was on day four that I began to notice that the muscles in my lower jaw where starting to ache. Not a lot, mind you. Just a tad. As though I’d strained them after a little exercise… and then it hit me… as some of my bad-ass overactive jaw muscles had been ‘put to sleep’ with botox, my bod STILL wanted to clench, so it was using other little muscles that it usually never bothered with to do the job. Happily, the ‘new’ muscles weren’t as strong (from year and years of contraction) that they couldn’t pull my scalp into the killer muscle spasms I was used to. Also, after a day or two, they adjusted and stopped feeling achy.
Now, about three weeks in, I can tell you this: Dr. P’s botox HAS made a difference. While it hasn’t stopped my tension headaches all together, I now get them much less often and when I do, their intensity is definitely less severe. I know this because I tend to go through Addie’s like water, but I’m now pulling them out of my bag much less frequently.
If you’re a jaw clencher or teeth grinder, I can definitely recommend you give botox a bash. Since getting it done, I’ve discovered it’s hardly a weird, experimental resolve in that I’ve now met loads of people who’ve also given it a go. There has been the odd person for whom it didn’t work, but most have said it definitely helped or completely sorted them out. Another benefit? If you keep on doing it (lets say once every four months or so), you’ll end up atrophying those over active jaw muscles. This means they kind of shrivel up and result in a much less strong-looking jaw line which, 9 times out of 10, is much more flattering. Check
In terms of cost, this can vary as it depends on how many units of botox you need. To blitz my jaw, it probably cost around R1 200, maybe less.
Thanks Dr. P. – you’re a total gem and I’ll be dropping in shortly with a little freshly baked somethin’ somethin’ to show my appreciation sometime next week.