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Exercising After Botox: How to Stay Active Without Compromising Your Results

One of the best things about Botox is that there’s virtually no recovery time. Generally, you can get a quick treatment and continue with your day as if nothing even happened!

HOWEVER, there are some exceptions. If your appointment falls right before you usually hit the gym, you might be wondering, “Can you workout after Botox?” Well, yes and no.

The simplest answer is:

Very light exercise after Botox is fine, but overexerting yourself could cause bruising or an infection, so you need to be careful.

Let’s get into more detail about the exercise dos and don’ts after Botox.

Why Use Caution After Botox Treatment?

When you get Botox, you receive a series of injections with a small needle. So, going straight to the gym and working out vigorously could cause some unwanted side effects. 

Although exercise after Botox won’t damage the effects of the injections (the drug will still be fully active and effective), you could unintentionally complicate the recovery process.

For example, when you exercise, your blood pressure and heart rate increase, which could worsen bruising at the injection sites.  

Another concern is an infection, since injections create small breaks in the skin. Gyms aren’t always the cleanest of places, so if you sweat a lot and then touch your face or forehead, you could introduce bacteria to one or more injection sites.

Can You Workout After Botox?

While you can technically exercise after Botox, we don’t recommend a heavy fitness session like running a marathon or doing CrossFit immediately afterward. It’s often best to wait or do something more gentle, like yoga or a long walk.

Some people get a slight headache after treatment, so you may not even feel up to working out after Botox. If this happens, you can treat the headache with a small dose of Tylenol (not ibuprofen or other NSAIDs) and take it easy for the day. 

Some people feel uneasy with needles or medical procedures, even Botox, and may need time to recover mentally afterward. That’s completely fine. Listening to your body will help you have the best treatment and recovery experience possible.

How Long Should I Wait to Exercise After Botox?

We recommend waiting about 24 hours before exercising after Botox. After that, you can return to your regular exercise routine.

Are There Any Other Activities I Shouldn’t Do After Getting a Botox Treatment?

Infographic: Exercising After Botox: How to Stay Active Without Compromising Your Results

You can do most of your normal activities after you get Botox, but there are just a few things you should avoid for the best results:

  • Massages (especially facial massages): Massaging your face can spread Botox into other muscles, causing it to affect the wrong areas of your face. 
  • Touching or rubbing the affected area: Similar to getting a massage, rubbing the treated area could move the Botox into unwanted areas and also increase the risk of infection. Do your best to keep your hands off the injection sites for at least a few hours after treatment.
  • Putting on heavy makeup: Applying makeup directly to the Botox injection sites after treatment can cause an infection, so we recommend waiting 24 hours before putting any on. If you must wear it, gently applying a little bit of very light makeup is okay.
  • Drinking alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can widen blood vessels near the skin’s surface and increase blood flow, which may amplify your risk of bruising after Botox.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like aspirin or ibuprofen promote bruising, so it’s best to wait at least 24 hours after getting Botox before using these drugs.

Most other activities — like lying down after Botox and continuing your normal routine — are completely fine and won’t have any effect on your results!

Live in West Texas? Get in Touch!

If you live in the West Texas area and are interested in Botox for TMJ or cosmetic purposes, send us a message! We have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process and help you get the results you’re looking for.

Can You Get Botox When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Research indicates 92% of people who opt for cosmetic procedures like Botox are women. Consequently, questions like, “Can you get Botox while pregnant?” or “Is it safe to get Botox while breastfeeding?” come up frequently.

Before we explore the answer further, here’s a quick response:

The effects of Botox on an unborn or breastfed baby are not currently well-researched, so no one can definitively say whether it’s safe or unsafe. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s always best to check with your OB or pediatrician before getting Botox.

That said, we’ll get into more detail below to help you decide what’s right for you and your baby. 

What Is Botox and How Does It Work?

Botox is a drug made from botulinum toxin A. As a cosmetic treatment, it helps address wrinkles and fine lines on your skin. As a medical treatment, Botox can be used for conditions like temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw inflammation and pain.

Although it affects the appearance of your skin, Botox doesn’t make changes to the skin itself. Instead, it temporarily weakens the muscles underneath, so they can no longer crease or wrinkle the skin they attach to so much. Once a doctor injects Botox into a particular area, the drug stays there and doesn’t spread to other parts of your body.

After you get Botox injections, your body slowly metabolizes the drug and clears it from your system. That process takes about three to four months, after which the effects wear off and your muscles can move freely again. At that time, if you want to refresh your results, your doctor might recommend another treatment.

Once you establish a routine of getting Botox regularly, the treated muscles will weaken over time, so you won’t need infections as often.

Infographic: Can You Get Botox When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Can You Get Botox While Pregnant?

The FDA has classified Botox as a Category C drug. This means animal studies have shown possible adverse effects on the fetus, but researchers haven’t completed any studies with pregnant women. 

The main concern with getting Botox while breastfeeding or pregnant is the possibility of the drug entering the mother’s bloodstream and affecting the baby’s health or development. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough research to conclusively say that Botox is either safe or unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. 

Due to the possible risks, scientists likely won’t inject pregnant or lactating women with Botox, so this may never be a well-researched area.

However, if you’re still wondering if you can get Botox while pregnant, we highly recommend speaking with your doctor. They can provide personalized recommendations and weigh the risks against your current condition, medical history, and your baby’s health.

Can You Get Botox While Breastfeeding?

Similarly, scientists aren’t 100% sure whether it’s safe to get Botox while breastfeeding because there isn’t enough human research out there.

That said, more than likely, getting Botox while breastfeeding won’t harm your baby. According to a publication in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), botulinum toxin A is unlikely to transfer to your breast milk after you receive injections.

The basis is a study which documents a lactating woman suffering from botulinum poisoning. Though she breastfed her child throughout her ordeal, researchers found no detectable toxin in her breast milk or in her baby’s blood or stool. Since the typical cosmetic dosage of botulinum toxin A is much lower than the levels that cause botulism poisoning, the NLM publication suggests it’s unlikely a lower dose of the drug would cause adverse effects in breastfeeding infants.

Regardless, we still highly recommend speaking with your pediatrician before getting Botox while breastfeeding.

In Lubbock? Reach Out!

If you’re in the Lubbock area and interested in Botox for cosmetic or TMJ treatments, schedule a consultation with us. We’ll be happy to revisit this topic and answer any additional questions you have about getting Botox while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Maximizing the Benefits of Vocal Cord Injections: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’ve struggled with a paralyzed or impaired vocal cord, you’re likely familiar with one or all of the unpleasant symptoms: constant breathiness or hoarseness, a weak or quiet voice, and frequent choking or sputtering.

Vocal cord injections could be the safe and effective treatment you need to help with these issues. Here’s what you should know about the procedure.

What Is a Vocal Cord Injection and What Are the Benefits?

The vocal cords are two bands of smooth muscle located inside your voice box (larynx). When you breathe, they open; when you swallow, they close.

When you talk, your vocal cords also close. In this case, air from your lungs passes through them, causing them to vibrate against each other and produce the sound of your voice. 

If you have a paralyzed vocal cord or a vocal cord that’s not moving like it should, it can cause a breathy voice, persistent hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing food. These issues can be irritating, and the possibility of aspirating food into your airways and lungs is actually dangerous.

A vocal cord injection can help temporarily alleviate these problems. Like a filler for your face, vocal cord injections add volume to the tissues inside your voice box.

How does this help? If one of your vocal cords isn’t moving when it should be closing, we can inject the area right next to the damaged vocal cord to push it out toward the middle. There, the opposing healthy vocal cord can now reach the damaged vocal cord to close and vibrate against it during swallowing and talking.

Depending on your diagnosis, we might use a short-term filler substance if we suspect the nerve might recover within a few months. Otherwise, we’ll use a long-term filler, which lasts one to two years.

Ultimately, the main benefits of getting a vocal cord injection are:

  • A more normal voice
  • A stronger cough
  • Less choking, coughing, and sputtering during meals
Infographic: Maximizing the Benefits of Vocal Cord Injections: A Comprehensive Guide

Why Would Someone Need a Vocal Cord Injection?

There are a few reasons why you might experience problems with your vocal cords:

  • A medical procedure: Problems with the vocal cords may be iatrogenic, which means a medical procedure unintentionally caused them. For example, surgeries on the spine, neck, or aortic arch can cause nerve damage that may affect vocal cord function.
  • Unknown causes: Sometimes, vocal cord dysfunction is idiopathic, meaning doctors don’t exactly know what causes it. It could be due to a viral infection, but often, it’s impossible to know.

How Should I Prepare for a Vocal Cord Injection?

You don’t have to do much to prepare for a vocal cord injection. Once we’ve diagnosed the issue and scheduled the surgery, all you have to do is stock up on soft foods and plenty of fluids. You may have a sore throat for a little while following the procedure, so those will be nice to have on hand.

Otherwise, avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before the procedure.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Happily, a vocal cord injection is a very quick and straightforward procedure which can be performed in an ambulatory surgery center.

First, you’re put fully to sleep with general anesthesia for the duration of the procedure. As a precaution, we also place a mouth guard to protect your teeth.

Next, we gently insert a hollow metal tube with a light and camera attached (called a laryngoscope) into your throat so we can view your vocal cords. This, together with an operating microscope, gives us a detailed view of the area.

Using a long, thin needle, we then inject filler material into one or two spots next to the malfunctioning vocal cord. The filler will add more volume to the area and push the damaged vocal cord out toward the middle space.

And that’s it! The entire process takes about five to ten minutes. After a short stay in the recovery area, you’re discharged from the surgery center and sent home to relax for the rest of the day.

What Does Recovery After a Vocal Cord Injection Look Like?

After the procedure, we ask you to minimize how much you use your voice for at least two to three days, though you can still speak. You don’t have to reduce or limit your physical activity at all.

It’s common for your voice to feel a little strained or tight after getting a vocal cord injection. However, as the filler evens out in your vocal cords, your voice should begin to sound much stronger, more understandable, and less breathy.

For a final step in the process, your surgeon will want to follow up with you in a few weeks to evaluate your improvement.

Pediatric vs. Adult Lymph Node Excisions: Does Age Matter?

Certain medical terms, like “lymph node excision,” can sound intimidating and scary, especially when you’re exploring surgical treatment for a child. Plus, you might wonder about the potential impact of the procedure on a child versus an adult.

To clarify, a lymph node excision is the surgical removal of a lymph node — a small, bean-shaped structure that filters lymph fluid and helps your body fight infection. And when a qualified ENT performs a lymph node excision, there’s minimal risk, whether you’re an adult or a child.

That said, it’s still a surgery, and we understand you might have concerns when exploring this treatment option. To help ease your anxiety and inform your decision-making process, here are the main differences between pediatric and adult lymph node excisions.

When Is a Lymph Node Excision Necessary?

Lymph nodes often swell naturally as they help your body fight infections, and then return to normal. However, if you have concerning symptoms in your throat or neck, like an unusually swollen or painful lymph node, it’s possible that your ENT may recommend a lymph node excision.

A swollen lymph node could indicate an infection, or it could mean either a benign or cancerous growth is present. If we suspect cancer, we’ll start with a needle biopsy of the lymph node, which often gives us enough information for a diagnosis and may eliminate the need for a lymph node excision.

If the biopsy shows signs of certain cancers, like lymphoma, we’ll need to take out the entire lymph node to examine its whole structure and identify the type of cancer more specifically.

In certain cases of cancer, a more extreme form of lymph node excision, called neck dissection, may be necessary. But that’s a different and much more extensive surgery that involves removing as many lymph nodes from the neck as possible.

What Does Lymph Node Excision Involve for Adults?

The most common reason for an adult lymph node excision is to check for cancer. 

During a lymph node excision, an ENT makes a small incision over the swollen lymph node and carefully removes it without damaging the surrounding structures. Next, they rinse the incision area and check that there aren’t any punctured or torn blood vessels before closing the site up with stitches.

With this type of surgery, our office typically uses absorbable stitches, so patients don’t have to come back in to get them removed. 

How Is the Procedure Different for Children?

In children, cancer is a far less common reason for lymph node excision. More often, the procedure is necessary in the case of specific infections.

A condition called scrofula, which is a tuberculosis infection of the lymph nodes in the neck, is the most common culprit in kids. Sometimes, we can treat the infection with various antibiotics. Other times, lymph node excision may be necessary instead.

The lymph node excision procedure is the same for children and adults and has no additional risks or side effects.

Infographic: Pediatric vs. Adult Lymph Node Excisions: Does Age Matter?

What to Expect After a Lymph Node Excision

Depending on the situation, a lymph node excision may help your doctor reach a diagnosis, remove a benign or cancerous growth, or treat an infection. Here’s what to expect after the procedure:


Although a lymph node excision is a surgical procedure, there’s very little postoperative recovery involved.

At most, patients may experience some minor pain after the procedure, or slight swelling or bruising around the incision site. All of these are minimal and short-lived.

Long-Term Effects

If you’re worried about the potential lasting impact on your health, it’s important to know that a lymph node excision doesn’t impair or compromise the immune system, regardless of whether the patient is an adult or child. There are several hundred lymph nodes in the neck, and removing one doesn’t cause any issues. In fact, once the excision site heals, it’s as if you never had surgery.

Possible Side Effects

ENT surgeons have an intimate understanding of facial and neck anatomy, and specialized surgical training in those specific areas. For this reason, it’s much safer to have a lymph node excision performed by a qualified ENT than by another type of surgeon, such as a general surgeon.

Some lymph nodes are located near important nerves in the neck. Surgeons without specialized expertise and practice are more likely to run into trouble removing a lymph node near a nerve, potentially causing lasting side effects like nerve damage and permanent disability.

Final Thoughts on Lymph Node Excisions

While the prospect of surgery isn’t exactly pleasant at any time, lymph node excisions reside at the low end of the risk spectrum. And, if you seek out an experienced ENT surgeon for the task, you can rest easy knowing that your body won’t even know the difference in a few days.

If you have concerns about a lymph node excision procedure for yourself or your child, we recommend talking to your ENT. They can clarify the reasoning behind the surgery, provide more details on what you can expect, and help you prepare yourself or your child for the procedure.

Eye Bags, Wrinkles, and Botox Under the Eyes: What You Need to Know

If you have pronounced eye bags, you may have considered Botox as a potential treatment option. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, Botox under the eyes won’t get rid of bags.

Because of the way Botox works, it can’t do anything about bags under your eyes — only fine lines and wrinkles.

But we promise, hope isn’t lost! Let’s take a closer look at what causes under-eye bags, why Botox doesn’t fix them, and alternative treatments you can try.

How Does Botox Under Your Eyes Work? 

Botox is a paralytic agent that temporarily weakens and paralyzes muscles. It only affects the muscles where it’s injected, and it generally lasts for three to four months.

By preventing certain muscles from moving, Botox takes away the underlying cause of many lines and wrinkles. A consultation with an experienced Botox physician will help you determine whether this treatment is a good option to address your specific concern.

What Causes Bags Under the Eyes?

Bags under the eyes are have a very different cause than wrinkles. Typically, under-eye bags are caused by:

  • Fluid accumulation: Fluid can build up beneath the eyes as a result of poor sleep, allergies, or the natural aging process, making the area look puffy and swollen.
  • Allergic shiners: The swelling from persistent nasal allergies can cause blood to pool under the eyes, leading to the appearance of dark circles and, sometimes, puffiness.
  • Slipping fat pads: As we age, the small fat pads around our eyes can slip downward due to gravity’s pull and loss of elasticity. They then settle below the eyes, creating noticeable bags.

Because Botox only works in one way — by paralyzing muscles — it can’t treat under-eye bags caused by these other factors.

Can I Get Botox Under My Eyes?

Yes, you can get Botox injections under your eyes. Just keep in mind that Botox cannot treat under-eye bags, only wrinkles. You’ll need a consultation with your physician to determine whether Botox is a good option in your individual case.

Eye Bags, Wrinkles, and Botox Under the Eyes: What You Need to Know: Infographic

Alternative Treatments for Under-Eye Bags 

Though under-eye bags don’t require medical treatment, you may not like how they look. Botox won’t help, but depending on the cause, several other methods may minimize the appearance of under-eye bags:

  • Get more sleep: Being well-rested can reduce swelling around and under your eyes.
  • Sleep with your head elevated: You don’t have to sleep sitting up, but keeping your head slightly elevated while sleeping can keep fluid from settling in your face overnight.
  • Treat your allergies: Treating your allergies with antihistamines can diminish swelling around the eyes and other allergy symptoms.
  • Put a cool compress on your eyes: A cold compress will lessen inflammation and puffiness by reducing blood flow under your eyes.
  • Reduce the salt in your diet: Excess salt makes your body retain water, which can contribute to puffiness and bags under your eyes. Cutting back your salt intake can help eliminate some of that fluid.
  • Try a different skincare regimen: Certain eye creams and ointments can tighten the skin around your eyes. A dermatologist can provide solid recommendations based on your skin type and sensitivities.
  • Consider plastic surgery: If you’re really concerned about bags under your eyes and want a more permanent solution, plastic surgery is an option. During the procedure, a plastic surgeon reallocates the fat around your eyes and removes excess skin to eliminate bags for good.

Botox Under the Eyes: Final Thoughts

Because of its popularity, many people think Botox can fix any cosmetic issue. As much as we wish that were true, it isn’t.

Due to the way Botox works, it can help with some cosmetic issues — primarily reducing the appearance of wrinkles — but it doesn’t work on concerns like bulges, hollows, or bags under the eyes. That doesn’t mean other treatments aren’t available for these issues. It just means trying Botox for them would be a disappointing investment.

An ENT’s Guide to Understanding Headache Issues After Botox

If you’re thinking about receiving Botox, you probably have questions: How does it work? Will it fix my problem? What are the side effects?

Maybe you’ve even heard stories from friends or the internet that pushed you to ask, can Botox cause headaches? That’s the question we’ll specifically address in this post.

Will You Get a Headache After Botox?

Getting a headache after Botox is extremely rare. Only about 1% of Botox patients experience a serious headache. In fact, within our own practice, we haven’t had any patients develop a severe headache after Botox treatment.

Rarely, however, some patients develop a mild headache that responds well to pain medicine and fades after about a day.

So, can Botox cause headaches? Though the vast majority of people won’t get a headache after Botox treatment, it is possible. We’ll explain a few reasons this might happen, along with some strategies to avoid the discomfort.

Infographic: An ENT’s Guide to Understanding Headache Issues After Botox

How Can Botox Cause Headaches?

If someone develops a headache after Botox, there may be a few reasons why:

  • The number of injections: Many people receive around 15–20 Botox injections in one sitting. Although the needle is tiny, everyone’s body reacts differently. In some cases, repeated injections could aggravate nerve endings to cause mild discomfort or a headache.
  • Poor technique: An inexperienced doctor may use poor technique when injecting Botox, leading to a headache afterward. An example of poor technique is using a dull needle. Needles lose a little sharpness with each use, which can lead to discomfort, so doctors administering Botox must limit the number of injections per needle. 
  • Stress or nervousness: If you’re stressed or nervous about your first Botox injection, you may unintentionally give yourself a tension headache after treatment.
  • Trying to move treated muscles: After getting Botox, you might be tempted to try moving your treated facial muscles, either out of curiosity or to see whether the Botox is working. The extra strain on those and the surrounding muscles could result in a headache.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Headache After Botox?

Even if it’s mild, no one wants to have a headache after getting Botox. Fortunately, if you’re worried, you can take some simple preventative steps:

  • See an experienced doctor: Just like you would with any other medical treatment, ensure you find an experienced, licensed medical doctor to administer Botox treatment. Certain types of doctors, like ENTs, are particularly familiar with facial anatomy. They have extensive knowledge of the face’s musculature and are well-equipped to administer Botox and achieve the best results with the lowest chance of side effects. 
  • Take Tylenol before your appointment: If you already know you’re likely to get a headache after Botox, consider taking the recommended dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) before you head to your appointment. We don’t recommend NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or ibuprofen to prevent or treat a headache after Botox. These drugs have mild blood thinning effects that can cause bruising, so Tylenol is the preferred option.
  • Relax: Make sure you’re comfortable with your Botox doctor and the overall treatment environment. If you typically get nervous or anxious before getting Botox, plan a calm day with as few stressors as possible. You can also use simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or aromatherapy to relieve anxiety before your appointment. If you prefer a massage to relax, be sure to schedule it before and not after your treatment.
  • Resist testing your muscles: It can be difficult to resist the temptation of trying to move your treated muscles, but do the best you can. It can be helpful to find ways to distract yourself.

What Other Side Effects Can You Expect From Botox?

Botox has minimal side effects, and most people don’t experience any. Seeing an experienced and knowledgeable physician will help you avoid unnecessary and unpleasant complications. However, depending on the location and number of your injections, you might notice some minor, expected effects like:

  • Difficulty pursing your lips: Injections in the lip area could make certain activities more difficult, like drinking through a straw or whistling.
  • General soreness: Since Botox involves tiny injections, more extensive treatments could cause some general soreness. Expect this to resolve quickly.

Your doctor should review all potential side effects with you before you go in for your first Botox treatment. If you have additional questions about headaches after Botox or anything else, don’t hesitate to speak to your provider.

Here’s When You Should See a Doctor for Ear Pain

While earaches are common ailments, they can really interfere with your life. Ear pain ranges from annoying to unbearable, and its causes vary — some concerning, some innocuous.

So, how do you know when to go to the doctor for ear pain?

Deciding whether to visit a doctor can be stressful. To help, we created this handy guide with some common causes of ear pain, what to watch for, and when to make that doctor’s appointment.

Common Misconceptions About Ear Pain

Contrary to popular belief, ear pain is not always caused by an ear infection.

Ear pain can come from many sources, like pressure fluctuations from flying or elevation changes, or from fluid buildup in your ear from a cold or allergies.

Ear pain is also very common with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. In fact, it’s the most common cause of ear pain among the patients we see here at ENT Associates of Lubbock.

Can Ear Pain Resolve on Its Own?

In many situations, ear pain resolves on its own within a couple of days. But if the source of the problem remains, the pain will persist.

For example, if your ear pain is due to congestion from a cold, it will likely go away when your cold symptoms subside. On the other hand, if you develop an ear infection, you’ll need treatment to take care of the problem. If the pain stems from ongoing TMJ issues, it could persist for much longer.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you don’t know the underlying cause, it can be challenging to know when to go to the doctor for ear pain.

Most ear pain resolves within one to two days. If your pain persists past that, consult your general practitioner or ENT. If it lasts up to a week, seeing a doctor is even more important.

More often than not, ear pain has a simple cause and treatment — like an ear infection — but that’s not always the case. Persistent ear pain can sometimes have more sinister causes, like throat cancer. So, even if the discomfort doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s always best to check in with your doctor and rule out anything serious.

Infographic: Here’s When You Should See a Doctor for Ear Pain

What Are the Most Common Causes of Ear Pain?

Knowing the most common underlying causes can help you understand when to go to the doctor for ear pain and feel confident in your decision. To summarize, these are the three leading causes of ear pain:

Cause #1: Illness or Allergies

When you have a cold, allergies, or congestion caused by illness, fluid can build up behind your eardrum and cause an earache. The pain isn’t necessarily indicative of an ear infection, but it still hurts and can be very uncomfortable.

A sore throat can also cause ear pain even when the ear itself is perfectly fine. This is called referred pain, and should resolve along with the sore throat.

Ear pain from allergies or an illness should resolve on its own as the ailment improves. If it doesn’t, it’s time to see your doctor.

Cause #2: Pressure Changes

On an airplane, the air pressure changes rapidly and your ears don’t always acclimate fast enough. This results in a painful imbalance of pressure between the air behind your eardrum and the air around you.

The same problem can occur when you change elevation rapidly while driving in the mountains or scuba diving.

Ear pain from pressure changes usually resolves quickly, if not immediately. If it lasts beyond a day or two, however, it could indicate swelling or dysfunction related to your eustachian tubes — the little passages that help equalize pressure behind your ears. In that case, seeing a doctor can help.

Cause #3: Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain

TMJ issues are common, and we see many patients who suffer from ongoing ear pain because of them. The temporomandibular joint is the joint on either side of your head that connects your jawbone to your skull. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears, you can feel the joint’s motion as you open and close your jaw.

TMJ syndrome — commonly referred to as TMJ — causes inflammation, irritation, and pain both in the joint and the surrounding areas. Since the ear canal is close to the temporomandibular joint, the swelling and inflammation can also cause ear pain.

Ear pain from TMJ is more difficult to address since TMJ is a long-term condition. While taking ibuprofen and applying heat can help, they don’t address the root cause.

Botox is a relatively new treatment for TMJ that’s showing great promise. It resolves symptoms for several months at a time, and may even reduce TMJ problems in the long term. If you want to explore Botox for TMJ, you’ll need to find a reputable doctor with the knowledge and experience to apply the treatment properly.

Final Thoughts on When to Go to the Doctor for Ear Pain

If you’re still unsure what to do about an earache, the adage “better safe than sorry” is a good rule to go by.

While ear infections are more common in children, they can happen in adults. If you have ear pain that’s severe or lasts more than a day or two, it’s best to get checked out. Your doctor can help determine the cause and provide the best treatment and recommendations for relief.

What to Look for When Searching for Otolaryngology Near Me 

The relationship between doctor and patient is an important one. Naturally, you want your doctor to have experience, confidence, and top-notch expertise in whatever you’re seeing them for. You want to know you’re in good hands.

But how do you find a doctor you’re comfortable with? Googling terms like “otolaryngology near me” or “pediatric otolaryngology near me” will get you countless results, but choosing can be overwhelming.

To help narrow your search, we’ll review what exactly an otolaryngologist is, when to see one, and three traits to look for in an otolaryngologist near you.

Why See an Otolaryngologist vs. a General Practitioner?

Otolaryngologist is the medical term for an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT. Oto means ear, and laryng refers to part of the throat. (The title also used to include rhino, meaning nose, but that was a mouthful.) They’re also sometimes referred to as head and neck surgeons.

Otolaryngologists receive specialized education and training to treat a wide range of conditions involving the ears, nose, and throat. They work in both the clinical and surgical sides of patient care — a rarity among specialists. For example, you would visit a cardiologist for evaluation and care recommendations, but you’d see a cardiothoracic surgeon if you needed a procedure.

When it comes to the ears, nose, and throat, the doctor you see in the office can be the same doctor who performs your surgery. Their ability to use both medical and surgical methods allows them to take a uniquely well-rounded approach to treatment.

Some ENTs also have specific sub-specializations, such as cancer or throat surgeries. A general, or comprehensive, ENT can refer patients diagnosed with rare or severe conditions to their more specialized counterparts.

Otolaryngology doesn’t overlap with many other specialties. While ENTs don’t treat the brain, eyes, teeth, or spine, their care for all the other soft-tissue structures in the head and neck area is fairly comprehensive. Other doctors may provide a subsection of the same treatment services — allergists, for example — but only ENTs provide comprehensive medical and surgical treatments for ear, nose, and throat issues.

Infographic: What to Look for When Searching for Otolaryngology Near Me

3 Traits to Look for in an Otolaryngologist Near You

When searching for “otolaryngology near me,” it’s important to understand how to weed through all the results online. Since it can be difficult to judge an ENT doctor from behind a screen, here are the three most important traits we recommend looking for:

Trait #1: Experience

Choosing an experienced otolaryngologist ensures you’ll receive the best quality care. If they’ve had good training and been in practice for a few years, they’ll be better equipped to identify issues, treat effectively, and avoid surgical complications.

An experienced ENT will also have the self-awareness to know what they can and can’t treat, and when they should refer you to someone more specialized.

An experienced otolaryngologist will have a professional reputation you can look into. Beyond Google reviews, an excellent ENT office will do more than say they’re the best — they’ll show it with comprehensive, well-rounded services, compassionate care, and reliable resources that help you make informed decisions about your health.

For example, here at ENT Associates of Lubbock, we have the most extensive library of educational materials for our patients. We offer this because we prioritize patient-centered care and want you to have the best treatment experience possible.

Trait #2: Ability to Communicate

For medical treatment of any kind, it’s essential to have a clear picture of your diagnosis, understand the treatment and why it’s necessary, and feel comfortable with the entire process. That’s why you need a physician who can communicate clearly with you before, during, and after your treatment.

When searching for an otolaryngologist near you, look for one with excellent communication skills. They should listen to your concerns and symptoms without dismissing them. Once they have a diagnosis, they should explain your condition clearly and allow you time to ask questions. 

A good ENT will review all your treatment options with you in understandable terms (versus confusing medical jargon) so you can make informed decisions. They should also be collaborative and willing to make referrals to specialized otolaryngologists when necessary.

Of course, an otolaryngologist should always be honest about your condition and its outcomes, show empathy, and provide professional recommendations. 

Poor communication can really impede your care, but a physician who communicates well empowers you to make good choices for your health.

Trait #3: Strong Support Staff

When you search for “otolaryngology near me,” it’s easy to focus only on the quality of the doctor. But the quality of the office is important, too. Even if an ENT is phenomenal, if you can’t get in to see them, it doesn’t benefit you.

A high-quality support staff ensures an otolaryngology office runs smoothly. They answer the phone when you call, schedule appointments in a timely manner, relay messages to the doctor effectively, and call you back when needed. You’ll be able to reach your doctor easily and address questions and concerns promptly.

An efficient and organized support ensures adequate and timely care without unnecessary roadblocks and frustrations.

When to Search for “Pediatric Otolaryngology Near Me” vs. “General Otolaryngology Near Me”

If you’re searching for an ENT for your child, start with a general/comprehensive otolaryngologist. A general ENT has all the necessary training and expertise to treat most pediatric issues.

However, if your child is diagnosed with a severe or rare condition, a good ENT will refer you to a pediatric otolaryngologist for more specialized care. Instead of starting with Googling “pediatric otolaryngology near me,” a referral from a comprehensive ENT will ensure you receive sound medical treatment from the most qualified professional.

Can You Get Botox if You Had the COVID Vaccine?

The first COVID vaccine was introduced in the U.S. in December 2020, and several others followed. While it’s been a few years since their initial introduction, COVID vaccines remain relatively new technology — and understandably, people have plenty of questions about them. 

One such question is whether there are any known harmful interactions between Botox and the COVID vaccine. Is it safe to get Botox and the COVID vaccine close together? Is there any reason to wait?

Before getting into the details, here’s a quick answer:

There are no known interactions, side effects, or risks of getting both Botox and the COVID vaccine

That said, it’s always a good idea to do your research before getting two treatments close together. If you’ve had the COVID vaccine and you’re interested in getting Botox (or vice versa), here’s what you need to know.

What Is Botox and How Does It Work?

Botox is botulinum toxin A and a paralytic agent. It temporarily binds to nerves and prevents the release of the neurotransmitters (naturally occurring chemicals in your body) that normally communicate with your muscles. As a result, the muscles no longer receive signals from the nerves to move.

Cosmetically, this weakened muscle activity results in fewer creases and wrinkles in the overlying skin. Medically, Botox can treat certain health conditions, including temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ, which causes jaw inflammation and pain.

Botox is a localized treatment, meaning it’s limited to the area of the body where it’s injected. Treatments take up to a week to take full effect, and they last about three to four months. During that time, the body metabolizes the Botox and clears it from your system, allowing your muscles to move freely again.

Over time, however, treated muscles tend to weaken as you continue with injections, so you don’t need them as often.

What Is the COVID Vaccine and How Does It Work?

The COVID vaccine helps the body develop its immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Currently, there are four COVID vaccines available in the United States.

The first two — by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — are mRNA vaccines, a relatively new technology. However, the process used to create the mRNA vaccines isn’t entirely new; researchers were already using it to develop cancer therapies. To make the COVID vaccine, researchers simply applied that same process to the SARS-CoV-2 virus instead of to cancer.

Unlike other vaccines that inject an inactivated or weakened version of a virus into your body for your immune system to recognize, the mRNA COVID vaccines work by injecting a small blueprint of the virus’s messenger RNA (mRNA) into the cells in your arm. Your cells then take up the mRNA and use it to produce a spike protein similar to the one on the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

As a result, the vaccine teaches your body to recognize the distinctive spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19, so when you encounter the actual virus, your immune system can fight it off more quickly. 

Infographic: Can You Get Botox if You Had the COVID Vaccine?

Are There Any Known Side Effects or Risks of Getting Botox and the COVID Vaccine?

In short, no.

It’s completely safe to get Botox if you’ve had the COVID vaccine, and it’s completely safe to get the COVID vaccine if you’ve had Botox. There are no known risks, side effects, contraindications, or interactions involved with getting Botox and the COVID vaccine; the two aren’t related at all.

The only thing they have in common is that they’re both injections. Though this may sound silly, they’re as unrelated as tying your shoes and putting on a shirt — they’re both wardrobe-related, but one has nothing to do with the other.

It’s important to speak to your doctor if you have any additional questions about Botox and its interactions with other injections or medications. If you’re in the Lubbock area, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with us. We’re happy to answer your questions and give you all the details you need to feel safe and confident about your Botox treatment!

Botox for TMJ: The Doctor’s Guide to Using Botox to Relieve Jaw Pain and Tension

TMJ affects millions of Americans, causing discomfort, pain, and soreness. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available, including Botox

Using Botox for TMJ is an effective and safe alternative to conservative therapies or bite guards. Plus, it’s fast and easy, with virtually no recovery time or side effects.

If you’re considering Botox for TMJ, here’s what you need to know:

What Is TMJ and What Causes It?

Temporomandibular joint syndrome, also called TMJ, is a condition that causes dysfunction in the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles.

Basically, TMJ is a mini-arthritis or inflammation within the joint that connects the mandible, or the jawbone, to the temporal bone, which is part of the skull. It’s like having a sprained ankle or tennis elbow in the joint right in front of your ear, where the jaw hinges on the skull.

TMJ is associated with symptoms including pain and tenderness in the jaw, achiness in or around the ear, and a locking jaw joint, making it difficult to open and close your mouth.

Most often, TMJ results from overuse or repetitive jaw muscle movement. Other causes include skull injury, grinding teeth, or genetics.

How Can Botox Help With TMJ?

Botox is a popular aesthetic treatment, but we also use it to relieve the symptoms of TMJ.

When we use Botox for TMJ treatment, we gently inject it into the masseter muscle, which is the large, strong muscle you feel in your cheek when you clench your teeth. We may also treat the temporalis muscle, which is another large chewing muscle on the side of your head near your temple.

TMJ Botox treatments partially paralyze these muscles, temporarily weakening them to relieve the strain and pressure on the temporomandibular joint. This provides much-needed relief from painful TMJ symptoms and gives the joint time to heal.

What to Expect During Botox for TMJ 

If you and your doctor decide to proceed with Botox for TMJ, you’ll find it’s a quick and easy process. We use a very small needle to gently inject Botox into your chewing muscle. The entire procedure consists of about three to four tiny injections, and due to the small size of the needle, it’s relatively painless.

You can expect to see a significant improvement in your symptoms within about three to four days after receiving Botox for TMJ.

infographic: Botox for TMJ: The Doctor’s Guide to Using Botox to Relieve Jaw Pain and Tension

What Are Some Alternative Treatments for TMJ?

While Botox is an effective way to relieve TMJ symptoms, it’s usually not the first line of treatment offered. Instead, we recommend the following solutions first:

  • Heat: Apply a heating pad, hot towel, or warm compress to the joint.
  • Medication: Take ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Rest: Try not to grind your teeth or chew as much as possible. Avoid gum, chewy candy, nuts, steak, ice, or other tough-to-chew items.

If those treatment methods are unsuccessful, the second line of treatments we typically recommend include a bite guard — a simple mouthpiece that keeps teeth from clenching or grinding and helps alleviate the painful pressure in your jaw — or TMJ Botox treatments.

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects of Botox for TMJ?

When injected properly, there are very few risks or side effects of using Botox for TMJ. There may be a small amount of bruising in some instances, but even that’s rare.

A doctor is most qualified to treat TMJ with Botox because they have the necessary medical and anatomical knowledge to prevent unwanted side effects. As long as you see a knowledgeable medical doctor for your Botox treatment, there’s minimal risk involved.

What Is the Recovery Process Like?

TMJ Botox treatments only require a quick office visit, and there’s virtually no recovery time needed. Immediately after leaving the office, you can return to work, run errands, or complete any other activities you had planned for the day.

How Often Will I Need to Repeat the Botox Treatment?

Botox generally wears off in about three months. Often, that’s all the time you need for your temporomandibular joint to heal from stress and overuse. However, depending on the severity of your condition, you might need to come back in for a repeat treatment.

If you have severe TMJ symptoms, we may want to see you for Botox treatment every three to four months. As you continue your treatments, you won’t need to come in as often because the Botox will weaken the muscles over time, reducing the severity of your TMJ symptoms.

How Many Units of Botox Are Needed to Treat TMJ?

Since the masseter muscle is large, it requires more units of Botox than a cosmetic treatment. Botox for TMJ typically requires about 15–20 units per side, or 30–40 units total. 

It’s important that we treat both sides of the jaw because if only one side weakens, the other side will still pull hard on the mandible. Uneven pressure on just one side will worsen TMJ symptoms.

If you have any other questions about Botox for TMJ, we encourage you to speak with an experienced physician about this treatment. If you live in West Texas, don’t hesitate to contact us and set up a consultation!

While Botox isn’t the only available treatment option for TMJ, exploring every possible solution is essential to getting lasting relief from painful symptoms.

How Does Diet Affect Sleep Apnea?

Your diet affects most aspects of your well-being, including your physical health and weight. But did you know poor eating habits could contribute to your risk of developing sleep apnea?

Because it’s not always clear how what we eat directly affects sleep apnea, we need to delve into some of the details. What improves symptoms? What worsens them? Is there a good diet for sleep apnea?

Let’s take a look.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Before we talk about diet for sleep apnea, let’s quickly review what the condition is.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is caused by an airway blockage. 

If you have sleep apnea, you might experience symptoms like snoring, gasping for air while you sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Your significant other might also tell you that you seem to stop breathing while sleeping.

The severity of OSA depends on the number of nightly episodes you have per hour:

  • Mild — 5–15
  • Moderate — 15–30
  • Severe — 30 or more

If you think you might have sleep apnea, a sleep specialist can diagnose the condition with an at-home sleep test or an in-lab sleep study. 

Infographic: How Does Diet Affect Sleep Apnea?

What’s the Connection Between Obesity and Sleep Apnea?

Researchers have long recognized the connection between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea.

While non-obese people can certainly have sleep apnea, the heavier a person is, the higher their risk of developing the condition. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 60–90% of adults with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight.

Obstructive sleep apnea often develops alongside obesity because of the added pressure the weight gain puts on the airway. When an overweight or obese person lies down to sleep, the muscles in their airway relax, and all that extra tissue falls on top, causing a natural obstruction. Additionally, the airway is somewhat constricted to begin with because the deposits of fatty tissue take up so much space around it.

What’s the Best Diet for Sleep Apnea?


Because of the connection between excess weight and OSA, a good diet for sleep apnea is one that helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Watch your caloric intake, making sure you’re not consuming more calories than your body needs to function. If you do, your body will store those extra calories as fat, contributing to your OSA symptoms.

If you receive an OSA diagnosis, it’s also important to prioritize a well-balanced diet of healthy, whole foods to help with weight loss. Some people benefit from a Mediterranean diet, some from straightforward calorie reduction, and some from strategies like intermittent fasting. The point is simply to find a healthy way to reduce weight. Talk with your doctor to determine the most effective and realistic course for you.

You might find it helpful to know that lack of sleep can increase cravings for unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Just remember, that’s the sleep apnea talking!

As you shed excess body fat, you’ll very likely notice a reduction in your OSA symptoms.


Besides making healthy food choices in your diet for sleep apnea, you’ll want to be mindful that one specific drink can significantly worsen sleep apnea symptoms.

Alcohol is a sedative, and research shows alcohol’s sedative qualities worsen and can potentially cause sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol causes your muscles to lose tone, meaning they can more easily relax into your airway, causing obstruction.

On top of that, alcohol makes it more difficult for you to wake from sleep. If you have OSA, you normally wake up slightly when you stop breathing. When sedated by alcohol, it’s much harder and takes much longer for you to awaken and resume breathing.


Though not strictly part of a diet for sleep apnea, it’s also important to consider what medications you take. Like alcohol, some medications can have a sedative effect that worsens sleep apnea symptoms. These include:

  • Antihistamines (especially diphenhydramine, or Benadryl)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates
  • Barbiturates

Certain sleep aids may also worsen symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, though they may be helpful for other sleep-related conditions. These include:

  • Ambien
  • Lunesta
  • Melatonin

Even medications like NyQuil or Tylenol PM, which attempt to help you sleep when you’re sick, include sedative medications that can worsen OSA symptoms.

What to Do if You’re Experiencing Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

If you suspect you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, there are several things you should do:

  • Take it seriously. Sleep apnea is not a minor condition that’s okay to ignore. It can be dangerous and result in serious health complications if left untreated. However, treatment is relatively simple and can prevent both short- and long-term dangers.
  • Talk to your doctor. If you think you have OSA, the first step is to see your primary care doctor. They may recommend you complete an in-lab or at-home sleep study if your symptoms correlate with sleep apnea.
  • Watch your weight. If you’ve noticed an increase in your weight alongside increased symptoms of sleep apnea, losing weight might make a difference. Consider implementing a good diet for sleep apnea as discussed in this post, as well as regular exercise.

Sleep apnea is more common than you may think, but it’s also treatable. If you’re experiencing symptoms, reach out and schedule a consultation with your doctor!

7 Treatment Options for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Once you’ve received a mild obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis, the next step is exploring your treatment options. Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea is a well-known condition, and there are several ways to manage and even cure the symptoms.

Finding the best treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea may seem overwhelming at first, but with the help of an experienced physician, you can find a solution that works for you.

In this article, we’ll review seven top treatment options for mild obstructive sleep apnea. But first, to help you understand each option and why it helps, let’s quickly review how obstructive sleep apnea affects the body.

What Is Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea and How Is It Diagnosed?

Mild obstructive sleep apnea is a blockage of the airway that causes you to stop breathing temporarily multiple times per night while you sleep. It’s categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how many disrupted breathing episodes you experience per hour:

  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea: 5–15 episodes per hour
  • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea: 15–30 episodes per hour
  • Severe obstructive sleep apnea: 30 or more episodes per hour

A doctor can diagnose mild obstructive sleep apnea with a sleep study — also called a polysomnogram — in a hospital lab or sleep clinic. These in-depth tests detect obstructive sleep apnea as well as other sleep disorders. Alternatively, you can opt for an at-home sleep test, which is a little less in-depth but more specifically geared toward diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea.

What Are the Benefits of Treating Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

One of the primary benefits of getting treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea is enjoying better sleep, which improves overall health. Additional benefits include:

  • Less fatigue and lethargy
  • More energy
  • Better performance at school or work
  • Healthier immune system
  • Lower long-term risk of medical events like heart attacks and strokes
  • Fewer short-term risks from severe daytime drowsiness, like accidents at work or while driving
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced snoring

In general, people who get better sleep are healthier and happier. Getting treatment for even mild obstructive sleep apnea is an effective way to improve your overall well-being, whether you’re awake or asleep.

7 Treatment Options for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea isn’t something to ignore, so if you’ve received a diagnosis, it’s important to get treatment. Untreated sleep apnea can be quite dangerous, both in the short and long term.

Fortunately, there are quite a few treatments for mild obstructive sleep apnea that can help you find relief. 

Infographic: 7 Treatment Options for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Treatment #1: Diet and Exercise

If a person is overweight, they’re more likely to have extra tissue around their throat and airway. When their muscles relax during sleep, this extra tissue can put pressure on the airway and block airflow to the lungs.

Losing a few pounds through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help many people reduce the excess tissue that presses on their airway. Since exercise also improves muscle tone, it can help keep the muscles around the airway from relaxing so much during sleep.

While it requires commitment and hard work, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet can produce real results. According to Harvard Health Publishing, losing just 10% of your body weight can significantly reduce sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, losing a considerable amount of weight may even cure sleep apnea completely!

Treatment #2: Oral Appliance

Another treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea is an oral appliance from a dentist. With mild obstructive sleep apnea, a small adjustment to your jaw and airway can be enough to make a difference. Oral appliances resemble a mouthguard, and they cause mild forward jaw movement to keep your airway open while you sleep.

If you’re interested in oral appliance therapy, talk with a sleep specialist and a knowledgeable dentist. They’ll help determine whether this option is right for you.

Treatment #3: Wedge Pillow

For many people, sleeping on their back worsens sleep apnea symptoms. However, even if you know this and try to sleep on your side, it’s not always easy to keep yourself from rolling onto your back.

Fortunately, several products can help you maintain a more favorable position while you sleep.

For example, a wedge pillow is a specialty pillow that keeps you from sleeping flat on your back. Similarly, we’ve seen a wearable collar- or belt-like device you can position around your neck or chest that gently vibrates if you roll onto your back during sleep. Or, you find t-shirts that have a pocket for a tennis ball sewn onto the back to keep you on your side while you sleep.

Treatment #4: Phone Apps

Certain smartphone apps can also help relieve symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea by alerting you when you roll onto your back, snore, or have low oxygen levels. These apps may help you change your sleep habits with gentle watch vibrations or mobile notifications.

Treatment #5: Tongue-Strengthening Exercises

A new treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea called eXciteOSA is a type of daytime therapy. This device is a simple mouthpiece you wear for 20 minutes daily.

The mouthpiece stimulates your tongue with exercises that tone and strengthen it. Over time, it retrains your tongue to stay in position overnight while you sleep.

The eXciteOSA device pairs with an app that allows you to control the intensity of the stimulation and get reminders and notifications about your therapy sessions. 

Though the eXiteOSA device might be the easiest form of exercise, you can also perform beneficial oropharyngeal exercises without external assistance.

Treatment #6: Improved Nasal Airway

If you have a nasal obstruction blocking airflow through your nose, it could be causing or worsening your sleep apnea symptoms. To address this issue, an ENT doctor can evaluate your nasal passages and determine what’s causing the obstruction. Then they’ll be able to provide the appropriate treatment. 

Clearing a nasal airway obstruction allows more air through the nose, which indirectly causes less obstruction.

Treatment #7: Tonsillectomy

Sleep issues are one of the main symptoms of enlarged tonsils. Removing your tonsils with a procedure known as a tonsillectomy can provide much-needed relief from nighttime symptoms. In some cases, it may cure mild obstructive sleep apnea.

If you and your ENT decide to proceed with a tonsillectomy, they can help you prepare for the procedure and answer any questions you have.

Final Thoughts on Treatments for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

With so many treatment options for mild obstructive sleep apnea, it’s not always easy to know which one is best for you. Seeing a sleep specialist and an ENT doctor can help you determine what’s causing your sleep apnea and which treatments will help you sleep better!

How to Find a Qualified Botox Doctor Near You

Botox has been around for long enough that most people are familiar with the basics — you notice some wrinkles, you get a few Botox injections, and the wrinkles disappear.

That’s all correct, but you might still have questions that the basics don’t cover, like:

  • How much does Botox help?
  • Who can administer Botox?
  • Where can I find Botox near me?

One of the most important questions about Botox treatments is how to find a qualified Botox doctor in your area. In this post, we’ll talk about why choosing an experienced, qualified physician for Botox is important and what questions can help you find one.

Who Can Give Botox Injections?

In the United States, only medical professionals with specialized training are legally authorized to administer Botox injections. In every state, this includes physicians, but many states also allow nurses, physician’s assistants, dentists, and similar professionals to perform injections.

An esthetician, however, can’t legally deliver Botox injections unless that person also happens to be a medical professional.

Why It’s Important to Find a Qualified Physician

While various medical professionals can provide Botox injections, certain types of physicians are particularly familiar with facial anatomy. Their specialized training and more extensive knowledge of the face’s musculature mean they are best equipped to minimize risk and achieve the best results for patients.

Facial anatomy isn’t exactly the same from person to person. Muscles can be larger or smaller, and slightly different in shape and/or location. There are a lot of muscles next to and overlapping each other in the face, as well. Without the necessary expertise, it’s easy for a legal Botox provider to accidentally inject the wrong spot or the wrong amount, causing side effects that last months.

In the end, choosing a qualified, experienced physician who knows facial anatomy will get you better results and save time and money.

Infographic: How to Find a Qualified Botox Doctor Near You

How to Find a Qualified Botox Doctor Near You

To find a Botox doctor near you, it’s important to look into the qualifications and background of anyone you’re considering. We’ve provided five questions to consider below.

1. What is the doctor’s experience?

You can start by looking into the experience of the doctor you’re considering. Is their specialty related to the face? How much practice do they have injecting Botox? Do they consistently produce great results for their patients?

2. Do patients return for their follow-up Botox treatments?

One way to find out how well a doctor near you administers Botox is to find out whether their patients come back for their ongoing Botox treatments. You can also check online reviews or before-and-after photos if any are available.

3. What are the doctor’s credentials?

Again, it’s important to be sure the medical professional who will actually be performing your Botox injections is a specialized physician. Once you locate an appropriate specialty practice, such as an ENT office, you can call to ask who actually administers the Botox injections.

Is it the physician, or a PA under supervision? Does the physician have any Botox training or experience?

Though it might be tempting to save money by visiting a lower-cost establishment, consider how much risk you’re willing to take. A job poorly done is more expensive — not to mention more distressing — than paying a little more for a qualified professional.

4. What results can I expect?

A trained, experienced physician should be able to understand and diagnose your particular case during a face-to-face consultation. They should also be able to tell you whether or not Botox will actually help you, and how much.

A qualified physician isn’t just throwing Botox at every issue they see. Instead, they take care to identify the specific problem and set reasonable expectations for the outcome.

5. How do you handle unexpected outcomes?

Though seeing a qualified specialist minimizes the risk of side effects, especially in Botox “danger zones,” no procedure is ever 100% risk-free. With that in mind, ask the physician how they handle unexpected outcomes after Botox treatments.

Do they have a plan? Will they take steps to correct an issue, or will you need to see another doctor? Do they have enough background with Botox not to compound a problem by attempting the wrong solutions?

This is why having an experienced doctor is so important.

Find a Great Botox Doctor Near You

No one wants to endure months with the results of a faulty Botox treatment. To minimize that possibility, seek a qualified Botox doctor near you. Now that you know what questions to ask, you should be able to find an experienced professional who understands exactly what’s needed to address your concerns.

What You Need to Know About Swollen Tonsils

Whether it was once or twice as a kid or more of an ongoing battle, chances are you or someone you know has experienced the unpleasant sensation of swollen tonsils.

Swollen tonsils can be uncomfortable and painful, making it difficult to eat, drink, and even sleep. But what causes swollen tonsils?

In this article, we’ll delve into the most common (and some not-so-common!) causes of this common ailment.

What Are Swollen Tonsils?

Your tonsils are the two little mounds of tissue that sit on either side of the back of your throat. To be more accurate, those are your palatine tonsils — the most famous of the human tonsils.

In reality, the tonsils are part of a circle of tissue in the back of the nose and the throat called Waldeyer’s ring, which includes:

  • Palatine tonsils — the familiar tonsils at the back of the throat, which we usually just call tonsils
  • Pharyngeal tonsils — also called adenoids, which live behind the nose
  • Lingual tonsils — which don’t get much fanfare (and don’t have a nickname) and which live on the back of the tongue

Despite what conventional wisdom taught in the past, tonsils do have a role to play. All the tonsils, including those at the back of your throat, are made up of lymphatic tissue and comprise part of your body’s immune system.

Essentially, your tonsils are little lymph nodes in your throat. To ward off infection, they act as filters to catch viruses and bacteria trying to enter your body through the nose and mouth.

If you’ve ever been sick and noticed swollen spheres on either side of your neck, you know that lymph nodes swell as they try to fight off infection. So, occasional swollen tonsils are normal and indicate your immune system is working to protect you.

However, excessive swelling, long-term swelling, and additional symptoms can indicate something’s gone wrong with the system.

Two Types of Swollen Tonsils

In evaluating swollen tonsils, one of the most important things to consider is whether the swelling is short term (acute) or long term (chronic).

Short-term swelling is episodic, meaning it comes and goes. It often accompanies a nearby infection, an allergy flare-up, or an infection of the tonsils themselves. When the issue resolves, the tonsils shrink back to normal size again.

Short-term swelling might produce certain annoying symptoms while they last, such as snoring or pain, but these issues resolve when the swelling does.

Long-term swollen tonsils, on the other hand, are characterized by chronic, persistent swelling. You might notice your enlarged tonsils every time you use a mirror to look in your throat, or your doctor or dentist might comment on them regularly. They never seem to fully shrink down, even when you’re not sick.

Besides the visible characteristics, symptoms of chronic swollen tonsils can include difficulty swallowing food, a muffled or “hot potato” voice, and consistent snoring, even in children. They can increase the risk of sleep apnea.

The Most Common Causes of Swollen Tonsils

By far, the most common cause of swollen tonsils is tonsillitis from a bacterial or viral infection. There are, however, several other common causes to keep in mind.

Infrographic: What You Need to Know About Swollen Tonsils

Swollen Tonsils From Infections

One of the most common causes of swollen tonsils we see is strep throat. Strep throat is a particularly unpleasant bacterial infection of the throat that frequently affects children and teens. It typically causes a high fever, throat pain, and difficulty swallowing, along with swollen tonsils.

On the viral side, upper respiratory infections frequently cause acute swollen tonsils. Mono, or mononucleosis, also causes swollen tonsils that can take much longer to resolve.

Swollen Tonsils From Allergies

Allergies are the immune system’s overreaction to a particle like pollen or dander entering the body. It mistakes the particle for a viral or bacterial invader and reacts to fight off the perceived threat. Because the tonsils are part of the immune system, they get involved, too.

Swollen Tonsils From COVID-19

Like any upper respiratory infection, COVID-19 can cause swollen tonsils. However, we haven’t seen a particularly strong link between the two.

Swollen Tonsils From Birth

Some people are simply born with larger tonsils than others. Unfortunately, this means they may encounter the symptoms of swollen tonsils more often, since any swelling is more noticeable. Even without swelling, large tonsils can interfere with swallowing or contribute to sleep apnea.

Other Reasons for Swollen Tonsils

If a patient comes in with swollen tonsils, we’re always cognizant of the possibility of tonsil cancer. Fortunately, tonsil cancer is fairly easy for a trained professional to spot. It includes symptoms like:

  • Asymmetrically enlarged tonsils
  • Pain in the throat
  • Pain in the ear on the same side as the swollen tonsil
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Voice changes
  • Symptoms don’t go away, but progressively worsen

Tonsil cancer isn’t nearly as common a cause of swollen tonsils as the other causes mentioned above. Also, it’s important to note that swollen tonsils — even chronically swollen tonsils — don’t cause tonsil cancer. They can simply be a symptom of it.

When to See a Doctor for Swollen Tonsils

If you’re wondering why your tonsils are swollen, especially if they’ve been swollen for longer than a few days or with an unknown cause, see a doctor. They can investigate the source of the problem and advise you on what steps to take.

Sometimes antibiotics are appropriate, and sometimes antihistamines can help. Tonsillectomies are much less common now than they used to be, but doctors may recommend them in more severe or chronic cases.

What a Pediatric Otolaryngologist Is (and When to See One)

If you’ve heard of pediatric otolaryngology before, you may be wondering whether you should take your child to a pediatric ENT.

It’s a good question. From the name, you’d think you should take children to pediatric otolaryngologists for all of their ear, nose, and throat needs. But it turns out that’s not quite the case.

Because it’s not immediately clear what the difference between a pediatric otolaryngologist and a general otolaryngologist is, this post will detail the responsibilities and expertise of each so you can better determine where to take your child.

What Is Pediatric Otolaryngology?

Pediatric otolaryngology is a subspecialty of general otolaryngology — the branch of medicine that deals with conditions of the ear, nose, and throat. Most ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors, including myself, are general otolaryngologists.

All otolaryngologists complete four years of medical school followed by five years of specialty training. During our residency, we see hundreds if not thousands of children and manage their medical issues.

From that point, some otolaryngologists decide to specialize further and pursue an extra year of training — called a fellowship — in pediatric otolaryngology. This usually takes place in an environment like a children’s hospital, where the doctor gains training and experience with more complex cases.

What Does a Pediatric Otolaryngologist Do?

Because of their additional year of training, pediatric otolaryngologists typically handle more rare and complex conditions. They’re especially adept in the treatment and management of different pediatric airway issues, such as a narrowed trachea, and perform procedures such as tracheostomy and bronchostomy.

Some have familiarity with rarer or more difficult cases in children, including congenital conditions like certain craniofacial issues or hearing loss. Some perform more specialized procedures, like pediatric cochlear implantation.

Infographic: What a Pediatric Otolaryngologist Is (and When to See One)

When Do You NOT Need a Pediatric Otolaryngologist?

For the common ear, nose, and throat issues children experience as they grow up, it’s unnecessary to seek out a physician who specializes in pediatric otolaryngology. A general otolaryngologist has more than enough training and practice in these more common issues:

When Does a Pediatric Otolaryngologist Make Sense?

If we encounter a case better suited to pediatric otolaryngology, we refer that patient out to a qualified pediatric ENT. Such cases might include: 

  • Improperly fused craniofacial bones 
  • Cleft lip or palette 
  • Significant congenital hearing loss that may require a cochlear implant 
  • Excessive narrowing of the airway that might require a tracheostomy or an airway surgery on the voice box or trachea
  • Large head or neck cancers

Final Thoughts on Pediatric Otolaryngology

Pediatric otolaryngology is an important subspecialty within the ENT field. We need physicians who know the ins and outs of the rarer and more difficult pediatric conditions and have the training and practice to treat them most effectively.

However, if you’re simply looking for an ENT who can effectively care for your child through the various ear, nose, and throat issues of childhood, a general ENT is more than qualified. We treat patients from all walks of life, from ages zero to 100, and we enjoy getting to know and care for the whole family in one place!

3 Botox “Danger Zones” to Watch Out For

When it comes to Botox “danger zones,” it’s not so much that you shouldn’t inject particular regions of your face — it’s that you really need to know what you’re doing.

Every region has subtleties that require a thorough understanding of the facial muscles, their functions, interactions, and more. If someone isn’t intimately familiar with the details, they could end up injecting the wrong amount, the wrong muscle, or no muscle at all.

Why Botox “Danger Zones” Can Cause Problems

In order to avoid Botox danger zones, it’s important for Botox providers to really know facial musculature and how different muscle groups interact. Otherwise, they won’t have an adequate picture of where to inject — and where NOT to inject — the medication.

For example, the frontalis muscle of the forehead has two lobes that come together in the center, but with a gap in one area. It’s possible to miss the muscle entirely if someone injects the center of the forehead without understanding where that gap is. The drug then can’t do its job because it’s not in the muscle.

Besides not producing the desired results, that’s just a waste of money.

There’s more nuance to Botox than first meets the eye if a provider wants to get the exact result a patient is after. Some other problems with Botox danger zones include injecting too many units into a muscle, injecting the wrong spot in a muscle, or accidentally injecting a nearby muscle. It’s even important to understand where not to inject Botox to achieve a certain effect.

Infographic: 3 Botox “Danger Zones” to Watch Out For

3 Botox Danger Zones

Three particular facial areas qualify as “Botox danger zones” because they require caution and expertise to achieve effective, natural-looking results and avoid mishaps. Again, knowing where to inject and where not to inject is crucial to achieving great results.

Botox Danger Zone #1: The Brow

Many of us have seen perpetually surprised-looking Botox patients on TV shows and recognize that something went wrong there. That look, among other things, is a reason the brow/forehead is a Botox danger zone.

That frontalis muscle we mentioned above is responsible for forehead wrinkles, but it’s also in charge of raising the eyebrows. It works in tandem with another muscle around the eyes — the orbicularis oculi — which pulls your eyebrows in the opposite direction. Together, these muscles give your face great flexibility of expression.

Brow Droop

If a Botox provider injects too much above the brow, they can paralyze the frontalis muscle. The wrinkles are taken care of, but the patient won’t be able to raise their eyebrows. Their forehead will be frozen, and the muscles around the eyes won’t encounter any resistance when they pull downward, resulting in a drooping brow.

Eyelid Droop

Another danger-zone problem gained attention in 2021 when a lifestyle blogger and influencer from Chicago shared her story of Botox gone wrong. Botox eyelid droop can happen when a provider injects between the eyebrows improperly. The Botox can migrate and infiltrate a nerve that controls eyelid muscle movement, producing sometimes shocking results.

Raised Brow

Drooping issues aren’t the only problems in Botox danger zones. A raised brow can be just as unpleasant.

If a Botox provider only injects the muscle around the eyes, then a patient can end up with the perpetually surprised look we mentioned earlier. When only the downward-pulling muscle weakens, the upward-pulling muscle (the frontalis) is free to keep those eyebrows hiked up high all the time.

Or, if an inexperienced provider injects too much Botox above the middle of an eyebrow, and not enough above the outside edge, the patient can end up with an unfortunate Spock-like tilt to their eyebrows.

Botox Danger Zone #2: Next to the Mouth

Another Botox danger zone is the area next to your mouth, which contains a number of muscles that help with facial expression and mouth movement. These muscles can vary in size and even location among different people, so experience and expertise are crucial.

The primary problem in this danger zone is a flat or otherwise altered smile from Botox injections for jaw thinning or to treat TMJ disorder.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder affects an estimated 5–12% of people, and women at least twice as often as men. It can cause intense pain and interfere significantly with daily life. Physicians discovered that using Botox to weaken the masseter, the large chewing muscle that runs from the cheek to the lower jaw, can help relieve TMJ symptoms.

This same treatment can also serve cosmetic purposes, giving the jaw a slimmer appearance by relaxing the masseter.

In both cases, the trouble comes when a provider injects too far forward into the masseter, affecting an adjacent muscle called the risorius. The risorius stretches from the corner of your mouth back toward the masseter and pulls your mouth out and up for a smile — unless it’s inadvertently paralyzed by a misplaced Botox injection.

Botox Danger Zone #3: Below the Mouth

Some people would like a lift to the corners of their mouth, especially if they feel they appear to be constantly frowning. This is where we encounter the final Botox danger zone.

Small doses of Botox, carefully administered, can weaken a muscle called the depressor anguli oris and reduce its downward pull. Precision and experience are the keys here. Mistakes in this area can not only affect the appearance of a patient’s smile but also their ability to eat and drink properly.

How to Reduce Risk in Botox Danger Zones

Many people aren’t familiar with all the potential side effects of Botox and may not realize the complex knowledge necessary to properly administer injections. It seems simple enough, but without the right knowledge and experience, it’s easy to make a mistake that will affect someone’s life for months.

This is why we recommend getting your Botox injections from an experienced, trained physician with an intimate understanding of facial anatomy. They know where to inject and where not to inject to achieve the best results, especially in Botox danger zones. Their expertise even allows them to customize treatments to each patient while significantly reducing your chance of a mishap.

Myth vs. Fact: Can You Lie Down After Botox?

Just about everyone has heard of Botox, and for a good reason. This non-invasive procedure gives you a younger, brighter-looking face almost instantly. And since Botox is temporary, you can tweak your treatments over time until you achieve your desired results. What’s not to love?

While Botox is popular and effective, some common misconceptions might leave you questioning whether it’s right for you. Today, we’re analyzing one such myth: whether you can lie down after Botox, and how long after Botox you can lie down.

Can You Lie Down After Botox?

Yes, you can lie down after you receive Botox.

Many people worry that if you lay their head down after a Botox treatment, the injection will diffuse into the wrong part of the face and lead to poor results. Fortunately, that’s not how Botox works.

Once your doctor properly injects Botox into a specific area of your face, it will stay there unless you heavily massage it out. Botox is injected into solid muscle tissue, meaning gravity has no effect on it. As long as you don’t massage or push on the treated areas, you won’t move the Botox.

Other Botox Myths Debunked

If you’re considering Botox treatment, you’ve probably heard many Botox myths, including the lying down after Botox myth. Quite a few of these stem from general misunderstandings about how Botox works, but we’re here to clarify what is and isn’t true.

Myth: Botox Is Painful

Some people assume Botox is painful because the treatment involves a needle. We’re happy to reassure you that this is completely false.

When delivered properly, Botox injections cause very minimal discomfort. The needles are tiny, and an experienced ENT doctor will work quickly to complete the treatment. In fact, many people receive their Botox treatment on their lunch break and head right back to work with no recovery time needed!

Myth: Botox Causes Permanent Facial Paralysis

Botox doesn’t freeze your face. Instead, it simply weakens the muscle movements in whatever areas it’s applied to.

When injected correctly, your results will appear natural, and unlike with some extreme plastic surgeries, you won’t end up walking around with a permanent shocked expression on your face!

Infographic: Myth vs. Fact: Can You Lie Down After Botox?

What Should I Do After Getting a Botox Treatment?

In order to experience the smoothest recovery possible, adhere to any tips or recommendations your doctor gives. These may include the following.

Recovery Tip #1: Relax

One of the best things about Botox is there’s virtually no recovery period. After you receive treatment, you can immediately continue with your day. No specific actions are needed. So you can relax!

Recovery Tip #2: Don’t Massage It

Hands off! Botox won’t spread to any non-injected areas unless you massage it or press on it. If you want to actively participate in your recovery in some way, simply use those muscles to help the Botox distribute itself. For example, you can wrinkle or raise your eyebrows repeatedly.

Recovery Tip #3: Maintain a Consistent Treatment Schedule

The best way to maintain long-lasting, desirable results is to continue with regularly scheduled Botox appointments. Botox weakens your muscles over time, so the more consistent you are, the longer your results will last. One of the easiest ways to do this is to schedule your next appointment before leaving the office after a Botox treatment.

Booking Your First Botox Treatment? Visit a Reputable ENT Doctor

Once you decide you’re ready for your first Botox treatment, consult with an experienced ENT doctor. The initial appointment is a great time to discuss your desired results and debunk common misconceptions, such as the lying down after Botox myth. Your doctor will be happy to help you achieve the facial appearance you’re after!

What’s the Difference Between Dysport and Botox?

I don’t need to restate how popular Botox is.

“Botox” has become the generic term referring to cosmetic procedures that reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, like “Kleenex” is used to refer to all tissues. But just like Kleenex, Botox isn’t the only one of its kind out there. Another popular option called Dysport can help you achieve the same results.

Dysport and Botox have many similarities, but a few important differences. To help you decide which is best for you, we’ll compare Dysport vs. Botox.

What Is Botox and What Is It Used For?

Very simply, Botox is a paralytic agent. It reduces the appearance of wrinkles by temporarily weakening activity in the muscles below the surface of the skin. As a result, the overlying skin doesn’t crease.

Doctors typically use Botox to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but they may also use it to treat some health conditions, including temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ, which limits jaw mobility.

Because it narrowly dissolves through the tissues, Botox is safe to use throughout the entire face. On average, the resulting effects are visible within five days of treatment and last about three to four months.

Although the effects of Botox are temporary, it weakens muscles over time. If you repeat your treatments about every four months (or as recommended by your physician), you’re less likely to need them as often over time, and you’ll be able to maintain your desired results longer.

What Is Dysport and What Is It Used For?

Dysport is another nonsurgical form of wrinkle treatment with a quick recovery rate. It’s very similar to Botox, as they’re both made from the same chemical structure.

Dysport and Botox injections work the same way: they temporarily reduce the appearance of wrinkles by relaxing the muscles beneath the skin. Like Botox, it’s been scientifically proven that small amounts of Dysport are safe to inject.

Dysport has a quicker onset than Botox — its effects are visible within as little as two to three days after treatment — but lasts the same amount of time.

Dysport vs. Botox: What Are the Differences?

If you compare Dysport vs. Botox, you’ll find they’re quite similar. However, there are a few very distinct differences to keep in mind:

  • Chemical composition: Although Dysport and Botox share a main ingredient, they contain different trace proteins.
  • Dissipation rate: Dysport tends to spread further through the tissues, meaning it could potentially distribute itself into the wrong place once it’s injected. As a result, you might end up with an uneven appearance in your face or unwanted lifting or sagging in areas you didn’t intend to change. The best way to avoid these unintentional results is to receive treatment from a trusted and experienced ENT doctor with extensive knowledge of the head, neck, and face muscles.
  • How quickly effects are visible: Dysport’s results tend to appear a few days before Botox’s. 

Generally, there aren’t many differences between Dysport and Botox. They’re both injectable treatments that can be completed at a doctor’s office in minutes, they provide the same effects that last about three to four months, and they’re very similar in price. Both treatments cause very minimal pain with little to no recovery time required — you could receive treatment during your lunch break and be back at work in minutes.

Infographic: What’s the Difference Between Dysport and Botox?

Dysport vs. Botox: Which Is Right for You?

Now that we’ve weighed Dysport vs. Botox, are you still struggling to decide which treatment is right for you?

The choice ultimately comes down to what you feel most comfortable with and what your physician recommends. An experienced doctor can administer both Dysport and Botox in a way that provides natural-looking results without drastically altering your appearance, so be sure to take their opinion seriously.

Arrange a consultation today to discuss your options.

How Often Should You Get Botox Touched Up?

Botox is undoubtedly the number one non-invasive procedure in 2022. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 7.4 million people in the U.S. receive Botox treatments in a single year.

And unlike a decade ago, many of the social stigmas about Botox no longer exist. It’s become so commonplace for both cosmetic and medical purposes that few people, if any, look askance at someone who’s had treatments. Plus, when Botox is given correctly, most people don’t look like they’ve had any work done at all. 

Since Botox is a temporary treatment, the effects fade over time. So, how often should you get Botox refreshed after your initial treatment? Let’s dive into the details.

What Determines How Often You Should Get Botox Treatments?

Generally, the effects of Botox last about three to four months. While injection location, dosage amount, and the recipient’s skin type or coloration vary, none of these factors really affect the length of time between treatments.

Botox doesn’t work directly on the skin, but on the muscles beneath the skin, meaning skin thickness and coloration don’t affect the treatments. And the length of effectiveness in the muscles comes down mainly to the half-life of the medication itself, not quantity or location.

Instead, the number of treatments you’ve already had is the main factor that could alter how frequently you need Botox injections moving forward.

Botox can cause some weakness in the treated muscles over time. So if you’ve already had several Botox injections, you might find that the effects last longer for you. As a result, once you’ve had Botox treatments for one to two years, you might be able to schedule them every six months instead of every three months.

Of course, this varies from person to person. But generally speaking, the longer you continue to get Botox injections, the less frequently you’ll need them.

Why Do the Effects of Botox Wear Off?

To fully understand how often you should get Botox, it’s helpful to know how Botox works and why its effects eventually wear off.

Botox is a paralytic agent made from a bacteria-produced toxin, and it temporarily paralyzes the facial muscles it’s injected into. Because wrinkles actually come from muscle movement, this relaxing effect smooths the skin for a more youthful appearance.

While “paralytic agent” may sound frightening, Botox doesn’t damage your nerve endings. It just temporarily prevents them from communicating with your muscles.

Normally, your nerves release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine to control your muscles. When a doctor injects Botox, however, the toxin binds to localized nerve endings and prevents them from releasing that neurotransmitter. As long as Botox remains connected to your nerve endings, it blocks the signals that would normally tell your muscles to move. 

Eventually, your body metabolizes the Botox. Once it dissipates, your nerves can release acetylcholine again, restoring communication between your nerves and muscles.

What Can I Do to Prolong the Effects of My Botox Treatments?

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find all sorts of tips and tricks to prolong the effects of Botox treatments. Unfortunately, those tips aren’t always reliable or even based on factual research. Some could even be detrimental.

To support the effects of your Botox injections, the best things you can do are:

  • Remain consistent with your treatments: Don’t wait too long to come in for your regular treatments. Schedule your Botox appointments ahead of time and stick with them. Remember that if you remain consistent, you should eventually be able to reduce how often you need treatments and perhaps even reduce the dosage you need.
  • Stay out of the sun: The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays damage skin cells and can lead to sun spots, reduced elasticity, and skin cancer. Minimizing sun exposure won’t necessarily reduce your wrinkles, since those are caused by muscular movement, but it will reduce overall damage, which will help your skin appear healthier and younger.
  • See an experienced doctor: ENT doctors have an extensive knowledge of head and neck anatomy, including facial musculature. Knowing exactly which muscles perform which actions allows experienced ENTs to determine where specific wrinkles originate and customize Botox injections to meet each patient’s particular needs.
Infographic: How Often Should You Get Botox Touched Up?

Talk With Your ENT About How Often You Should Get Botox

It’s always best to speak directly with your physician about medical treatments. You can ask questions about whether Botox will work for you and how often you should get Botox. Every person is different, and your doctor can advise you based on the details of your situation.

Our knowledgeable staff at Ear Nose & Throat Associates of Lubbock will ensure you have a safe and positive experience with Botox. If you’d like to receive ongoing injections, we can also help you establish a treatment schedule to maintain youthful-looking skin and achieve long-lasting results.

6 Benefits of That Botox Treatment You’re Considering

Botox has been around long enough that most people with any concern over facial wrinkles have at least considered it.

Botox injections are, in fact, very effective at improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Beyond that, Botox can also help treat certain medical conditions. Botox is safe and well-researched, but the finer details of this treatment aren’t very well publicized.

To remedy that, here we provide a brief introduction to the benefits of Botox. We’ll look at exactly what Botox is, how it works, and the main benefits of Botox to help you better understand this treatment and make an informed decision about whether to pursue it.

What Is Botox?

Botox is a temporary paralytic agent that can reduce the movement of muscles. Since facial muscle movement is what causes wrinkles to appear, Botox treatment smooths out the skin’s appearance and keeps wrinkles at bay.

Botox acts locally, meaning it only affects the muscles where it’s injected. This gives doctors a great deal of control over which muscles (and wrinkles) they target.

Botox is one of the most widely known brands of injectable botulinum toxin, a toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Much like people say “Kleenex” to refer to any brand of facial tissue, people often say “Botox” to refer to all the different brands of this particular treatment.

How Does Botox Work?

The nerves in your body tell your muscles when to move by releasing a small chemical called acetylcholine, also known as a neurotransmitter.

After injection, Botox binds to a particular muscle’s nerve and prevents it from releasing its neurotransmitter. As a result, the muscle injected with Botox can’t tense up or move, and the skin above looks smoother.

As long as the Botox is present, nerves can’t send their signals. But as your body metabolizes Botox, it wears off of nerve endings and stops working. This process takes some time, so the effects of a Botox injection usually last three to four months.

When muscles sit still for extended periods of time, they get weaker. So when people continue with Botox injections, they tend to need the treatments less frequently as time goes on.

Should I Be Concerned That It Paralyzes?

Understandably, the word “paralyze” may cause some concern. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • First, the effects of Botox are temporary. It won’t permanently paralyze your muscles. As the toxin wears off, you’ll gradually regain movement of your facial muscles.
  • Second, you may have seen some drastic Botox results in movies (or real life), but carefully administered, appropriate doses of Botox don’t have that effect. The amount of Botox we use depends on the size and location of the muscle. In our office, we typically start patients with about half the standard dose to evaluate the effects and proceed from there. Often, half is all they need.

Botox has very few side effects. The most common include:

  • Redness at the injection site
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bruising at the injection site

What Are the Benefits of Botox?

Botox can be used in numerous cosmetic and medical applications, but because ENTs focus on the head and neck, we don’t offer Botox for conditions elsewhere on the body. Below are some conditions ENTs do treat and several benefits of Botox to consider:

Infographic: 6 Benefits of That Botox Treatment You’re Considering

1. Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles

This is one of the main benefits of Botox: it effectively smooths out fine lines and wrinkles on the face for a younger-looking appearance.

Doctors often use Botox to eliminate lines on the forehead, crow’s feet around the eyes, or smooth out the “eleven” lines that appear between the brows. They can also use Botox to flip the lip upward to give the appearance of fullness, or they can get rid of vertical bands on the neck that are a common sign of aging.

Essentially, doctors can treat any kind of cosmetic issue caused by muscle movement with Botox. Because of their intimate knowledge of head and neck musculature, experienced ENTs are especially adept at determining which muscles to treat to bring about specific results.

2. Treats Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)  

TMJ is a medical condition affecting the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. If you have TMJ, the muscles and ligaments around your jaw joints become inflamed and irritated, causing mild to severe pain. 

Botox injections can be an effective way to relieve TMJ discomfort in your jaw or ears. Treatment involves injecting Botox into the large, strong chewing muscles around the joint, weakening them to provide relief. 

3. It’s Only Temporary

The paralyzing effects of Botox are temporary and only last about three months. This is an important benefit because it gives you a chance to try Botox without being stuck with the results. If you like what you see, you can come back for more. Otherwise, you can decide Botox isn’t for you.

4. Quick and Minimally Invasive

Botox is a non-surgical outpatient procedure performed right here in our office. Once you arrive for your appointment, we discuss what you’d like to see, and you’re ready to begin. We make tiny injections into specific muscles we need to target, and you’re done. The whole process typically takes about 15 minutes, and you can head home or back to work immediately after we’re done. 

5. Produces Fast Results

Many topical treatments for fine lines and wrinkles take weeks or months to produce any results. One of the top benefits of Botox is that you begin to see results in just a few days, with full results appearing within two weeks.

6. Minimal Discomfort

Many people worry that the Botox injections will be painful, but another benefit of Botox is the incredibly tiny needle it uses. You may feel a slight pinch in a more sensitive area, but it really is very minimal. We’ve never had a patient leave saying, “I’ll never do that again!” In fact, almost everyone decides to repeat the process.

If you’re concerned about pain or any potential side effects, please let us know. We’ll be happy to talk with you!

Consider the Benefits of Botox for Your Situation

Whether you’re concerned about fine lines and wrinkles or a medical condition like TMJ, it’s helpful to discuss the benefits of Botox with a medical professional. A physician can advise you on whether Botox would be effective in your case and provide further details specific to your situation.

What You Need to Know About Asthma and Sleep Apnea

Did you know that if you have asthma, you also have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea, and vice versa?

Research indicates asthma and sleep apnea are indirectly connected, and each condition can potentially exacerbate the other. Although other contributing factors also play a role, knowing how asthma and sleep apnea are related and pursuing effective treatments for each may help you sleep better at night and feel well-rested throughout the day.

Let’s take a close look at each of these conditions and explore how they’re related.

How Are Asthma and Sleep Apnea Related?

Based on our professional experience and our review of recent data, we know that obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and asthma are indirectly connected, with each condition negatively influencing the other.

Although asthma and sleep apnea affect one another, it’s not entirely accurate to say one directly causes the other. Because there are several hypotheses out there, several factors need to be considered.

Recently, researchers have found that obstructive sleep apnea could actually be a trigger for asthma exacerbations. There are a number of different pathways as to how. It may be because OSAS causes hypoxia, or low oxygen levels in the blood and tissues. With a lack of oxygen, asthma symptoms may worsen.

Alternatively, a particular person’s airway lining could have increased irritability or a propensity for inflammation. If so, both asthma and obstructive sleep apnea may be exacerbated by that hyperactive airway lining.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic long-term condition that affects your lungs’ ability to carry air in and out. If you have asthma, your airways are overreactive and sometimes become inflamed and narrow, making breathing much more difficult.

Your entire respiratory system is split into two parts: the upper respiratory tract (your nose, mouth, and throat) and the lower respiratory tract (your lungs). When a person without asthma has an upper respiratory reaction to a trigger, their upper respiratory tract swells, causing nasal congestion and mucus production, which leads to a runny nose.

Asthma is a similar response, except that symptoms occur in the lower respiratory tract — in the lungs instead of the nose. Asthma triggers narrow the airways and makes breathing much more difficult.

Asthma exacerbations can be triggered by many things, including:

  • Exercise
  • Cold weather
  • Pollen or other allergens
  • Viral infections

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person, but they often include:

  • Chest tightness and pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing when exhaling
  • Sleep difficulty
  • Coughing attacks that get worse with a cold, the flu, or respiratory infections

Unfortunately, there’s no “cure” for asthma, but an individualized treatment plan incorporating medications, medical monitoring, and lifestyle changes can help manage it.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. Unlike asthma, which is a narrowing of the airways within the lungs themselves, sleep apnea is a physical obstruction of the airways before air reaches the lungs.

Usually, the physical blockage, which can be by the tongue, the tonsils, or one’s own body weight, occurs above the trachea, aka the windpipe.

There are three main types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea, which occurs when the throat muscles relax too much during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea happens when your brain doesn’t send proper messages to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome occurs if you have both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up with a parched mouth
  • Gasping for air while you sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Long pauses where you’re not breathing while sleeping (reported by someone else)
What You Need to Know About Asthma and Sleep Apnea Infographic

What Are the Treatment Options for Asthma and Sleep Apnea?

Thankfully, both asthma and obstructive sleep apnea have a variety of treatment options.

Treatment Options for Asthma

For asthma, there’s an increasing spectrum of treatment options from minimal to maximal. These include:

  • A rescue inhaler, a small, handheld device that pumps medication into your mouth and down to your lungs. The medicine opens your airways so you can breathe easier. Some people with mild asthma may only need to use an inhaler every once in a while. If you find yourself using a rescue inhaler more than twice a week, you probably need more long-term treatment.
  • Inhaled steroids or bronchodilators are like inhalers, but they are long-acting and are used to control asthma symptoms instead of just providing quick, short-term relief. The steroids work to treat asthma by reducing inflammation in the lungs.
  • A combination of treatments may be necessary if you have very severe asthma. A doctor might have you use a rescue inhaler, bronchodilator, and oral steroids together to control and relieve your asthma symptoms.
  • Injectable medications for asthma are also sometimes necessary for severe asthma. These medications are in a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies, which block the response to airway triggers that cause inflammation. People with severe asthma typically receive this type of treatment every 2–8 weeks, and it may be administered at a doctor’s office, hospital, or via self-injection at home. 

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

For those with sleep apnea, treatment options include:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which is a machine with a hose that connects to a mask. The hose delivers constant and steady oxygen while you sleep. Unfortunately, some people have problems with leaky masks, insomnia, dry mouth, and/or other issues related to CPAP, and should consider CPAP alternatives in those cases.
  • Weight loss can help treat sleep apnea by reducing fat deposits in your neck and tongue to improve airflow while you’re sleeping.
  • Surgery is another alternative treatment for sleep apnea and may include a tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils), nasal surgery, or Inspire (hypoglossal nerve stimulator surgery). Inspire is a tiny, implanted device that controls your breathing by sending a small electrical signal to the nerve that controls your tongue. Once it’s implanted, you use a small handheld remote to turn it on before bed and off when you wake up. Unlike CPAP, there’s no hose or mask needed.

When Is It Time to See a Doctor?

Asthma and sleep apnea are severe conditions that require ongoing treatment and medical monitoring. If you’re experiencing symptoms of either condition, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, loud snoring, or you stop breathing intermittently overnight, see a doctor immediately.

Here at ENT Associates of Lubbock, we’re eager to help you address your asthma and sleep apnea with a treatment method that’s tailored to you.

VivAer Post-Op Instructions for a Comfortable Recovery

Persistent nasal congestion can have a significant impact on your life. Whether you experience fatigue from poor quality sleep or struggle with the constant discomfort of breathing through your mouth, not being able to breathe well through your nose can cause a myriad of effects that are difficult to juggle.

One solution we offer is VivAer, a non-invasive, in-office procedure done to relieve nasal obstructions. This surgical procedure is quick, effective, and safe, with very little recovery time. However, that doesn’t mean the recovery period shouldn’t be observed seriously.

Let’s review the importance of following your doctor’s VivAer post-op instructions, what to expect after the procedure, and some quick tips for a worry-free recovery.

What Is VivAer?

Previously, the only solutions for chronic nasal obstruction were medications or nasal strips that only offered short-term relief from uncomfortable symptoms. Alternatively, you could opt for surgery, but these procedures were often painful and invasive.

Fortunately, VivAer is now an option for millions of people who suffer from chronic nasal congestion. The VivAer Nasal Airway Remodeling surgery is ideal for people with chronic nasal congestion or stuffiness. It only takes a few minutes and is completed under local anesthesia right in your doctor’s office.

During the procedure, your ENT doctor will insert a small wand into your nostril and apply low-temperature radiofrequency (RF) energy to the specific areas of obstruction. This gently reshapes the inside of your nose, improving airflow so you can breathe easier.

The Importance of Following Your VivAer Post-Op Instructions

As with any surgical procedure, you’ll need to partner with your doctor to ensure that you recover smoothly and without any major or minor issues. Being gentle with yourself and following your ENT doctor’s VivAer post-op instructions is essential for a few reasons:

  • The surgery might not be as effective. If you neglect to care for your nose after the procedure, you could reverse the effectiveness of the procedure or undo the procedure altogether. In this case, your VivAer surgery will have been pointless.
  • Your recovery time might take longer. Without proper care after surgery, your nose could take longer to heal, making life more difficult in the meantime. If you meticulously follow your doctor’s VivAer post-op instructions, you’re much more likely to experience a fast and easy recovery period.

What to Expect After VivAer

Because VivAer is a non-invasive procedure, there are very few uncomfortable postoperative side effects. You may experience some bleeding for about a day after the procedure, and for about a week or so, you will experience nasal congestion.

You’ll also notice some crusting on the side of your nostrils for about 2–3 weeks. You also may experience mild tenderness in your nostrils if you wiggle your nose, but that’s normal too.

There is no lasting external change to the appearance of your nose after VivAer surgery. Occasionally, some patients experience some swelling of their nostrils, but that only lasts for a few weeks while the nose heals.

4 Tips for a Quick and Problem-Free Recovery

VivAer Post-Op Instructions for a Comfortable Recovery Infographic

Most people recover from this procedure very well. Follow these VivAer post-op instructions to ensure your recovery is as painless and simple as possible.

Tip #1: Apply a prescribed antibiotic ointment two times per day.

After the surgery, we’ll prescribe you a special antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and expedite the healing process. Apply the ointment to the inside of your nostrils twice a day. Doing so will also keep the inside of your nose from getting too dry and prevent excessive crusting.

Tip #2: Avoid picking at the crusting inside your nose.

It may be tempting to pick at the crusting that will develop inside your nose, but doing so will prolong your healing time. To ensure a fast and easy recovery, do your best to leave the crusting alone. As annoying as it is, it’s a part of the natural healing process.

Tip #3: Use saline spray generously.

Saline spray is a water-based mixture that contains salt, similar to the composition of your tears. After the VivAer procedure, gently spray the inside of your nose with a saline solution as needed. This will prevent uncomfortable dryness and help keep your nostrils moisturized. It will also help soften or dissolve some of the crusting.

Tip #4: Don’t squeeze your nostrils together for one week.

Immediately after surgery, you’ll want to avoid squeezing your nose together when blowing to allow your nasal valve time to heal in the outward position. Pressing your nostrils together might undo the surgery, so it’s important to strictly adhere to this recommendation and give your nose the chance to heal correctly. Avoid accidentally hitting your nose, as well.

We Can Help You Follow Your VivAer Post-Op Instructions Safely

VivAer Nasal Airway Remodeling surgery is a simple procedure that can relieve those who struggle to breathe through their nose, and we’re happy to provide it for our patients.

After the procedure, you don’t need to alter your normal daily activities very much. Take it easy for a few days, don’t overextend yourself or breathe too heavily, and follow our simple VivAer post-op instructions. The ENT Associates of Lubbock are here to help you with any questions you may have along the way, no matter what.

Your Options for Treating Swollen Turbinates

Being able to breathe through your nose is easy to take for granted. But when structures within your nasal passageways swell and impede normal breathing, it’s impossible to ignore. Among those structures are turbinates.

Swollen turbinates make your nose feel stuffy, often forcing you to breathe through your mouth, which can be really uncomfortable. They can even contribute to headaches and sleep disorders like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea if left untreated.

Let’s take a closer look at congestion from swollen turbinates to determine why it happens and what you can do about it.

What Are Turbinates?

Turbinates are structures made of bone and soft tissue. They sit along your nasal walls opposite the septum, which separates your nostrils into right and left sides.

You might have noticed that the word “turbinate” is similar to the word “turbine.” That’s because, very basically, turbinates affect the airflow in the nose.

Each of your nostrils has three turbinates: inferior, middle, and superior. The inferior turbinates most directly affect airflow because they’re situated further down toward the opening of your nostrils. Normally, there’s a space between the septum and the turbinates that allows air to pass through your nose so you can breathe with no problems.

Turbinates serve an important function. Their job is to filter, moisten, and warm air as it passes through your nose to your throat. Without them, breathing would be much more uncomfortable, coming with a rush of cold as air passed through your nose. Not pleasant!

What Happens When Turbinates Swell?

Everyone has a natural nasal cycle. One side of your nose will always be more congested than the other, and which side it is changes every few hours.

The problem begins when turbinates become so swollen that they prevent air from flowing in. At that point, they’ve become counterproductive. Since turbinates sit right in the midst of your nasal passages, any swelling can easily obstruct your breathing.

Several causes can trigger turbinate swelling, including:

  • Allergies (environmental or food)
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Sinus infections
  • COVID-19
  • A cold or the flu
  • Pregnancy or other hormonal fluctuations
  • The natural aging process
  • Prolonged Afrin or topical decongestant usage

What Non-Surgical Treatments Are Available?

ENT doctors typically treat swollen turbinates on a case-by-case basis. That means they look at your symptoms and the efficacy of previous treatments you’ve tried to develop an individualized treatment plan for you.

Most often, we start by treating allergies with medications like oral antihistamines, topical decongestants, or topical antihistamines.

  • Antihistamines block the effects of histamines, which are chemicals in your immune system that cause sneezing, itchiness, watery eyes, or a runny nose to help your body expel allergens like pollen and pet dander.
  • Decongestants work by narrowing your blood vessels, which shrinks the swollen tissue inside your nose so air can pass through more easily.

Most antihistamine and decongestant combinations are available over the counter (OTC), but some require a prescription from your doctor. An ENT doctor can also give you detailed instructions on how and when to use these medications for the best results.

If allergies cause your turbinates to swell, you can limit your exposure to your allergens as much as possible. Some helpful tips include:

  • Remove excess dust and pet dander from your home.
  • Don’t smoke indoors.
  • Use specialized cleaners to remove any mold and mildew in your bathrooms, kitchen, or basement.
  • Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter inside your home. (especially in your bedroom or wherever you sleep.)

If these OTC treatments and environmental adjustments work to reduce the size of your swollen turbinates, you’ll be able to breathe normally through your nose, and surgery won’t be necessary.

When Should I Consider Surgery for Swollen Turbinates?

Infographic: Your Options for Treating Swollen Turbinates

Sometimes OTC treatments don’t work, and people still experience nasal congestion. If this is the case for you, it may be time to consider turbinate reduction surgery. 

The following surgical treatments are minimally invasive, safe, and can address enlarged inferior turbinates:

  • Submucosal turbinate reduction: This is the most common turbinate surgery. It’s usually an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia, but some advanced practices offer this procedure in the office with local anesthesia. During this procedure, an ENT doctor uses an endoscope (a small medical device with a light and camera on it) to see inside your nose. Then, they make a small incision in the mucosal lining of each inferior turbinate and remove the tissue causing the swelling.
  • Turbinectomy: With this procedure, the ENT doctor removes the bottom half of each inferior turbinate with a tiny, high-speed device. You’re sedated during the entire procedure, so it’s pain-free. Turbinectomies used to be the preferred surgical treatment for addressing swollen turbines, but have fallen out of fashion because taking too much tissue out of the nose can make nasal breathing uncomfortable. However, sometimes it’s necessary for excessively swollen turbinates.
  • Thermal application: An ENT doctor may also use heat to shrink swollen turbinates. This option is more commonly used with children because their noses are small, and there’s minimal space to insert surgical instruments into their nostrils. Instead, the ENT doctor will insert a probe into the turbinate to heat and shrink it.

Recovery from turbinate surgery usually takes about five to seven days. You might experience some nasal congestion during this time, but that’s normal. Nasal irrigation can help reduce congestion and speed up the recovery process.

You might also have some nasal discharge after surgery. If it’s yellow, green, or accompanied by a cough or fever, it may be a sign of infection and you should call your ENT doctor.

An ENT Doctor Can Help You Get Relief

If you’re frequently stuffed up and can’t breathe through your nose, swollen turbinates may be the cause. An experienced ENT doctor can review your treatment options and help you determine which one is best for you. Getting rid of that pesky stuffy nose might be easier than you thought!

How Sinus Pressure Headaches Happen (Plus What to Do)

You’ve probably experienced a headache before. Whether it’s a migraine, cluster headache, tension headache, or some other type of headache, none are pleasant. 

Sinus pressure headaches are a common type of headache occurring in the face that many people live with for years because they don’t know there are long-term solutions. What if you could prevent sinus pressure headaches and avoid all the pain and discomfort in the first place? 

Let’s look at what sinus pressure headaches are and explore five potential treatments to relieve their uncomfortable symptoms.

What Are Sinus Pressure Headaches?

Your sinuses are a series of connected air-filled cavities behind your cheeks, forehead, and nose. Sinus pressure headaches occur when the lining of your nose swells and obstructs your sinuses. 

Typically, sinus pressure headaches start behind your eyes, forehead, or cheeks and radiate out, creating a feeling of fullness, pressure, and pain in the front of your face. Sometimes the pain can even radiate down into your teeth. Sinus headaches can also trigger other types of headaches, like migraines, causing a throbbing or pulsing sensation in your head.

Anything that causes swelling in the nose might cause a sinus headache, such as:

  • Allergies
  • A cold or the flu
  • An upper respiratory tract infection
  • Weather (barometric changes)
  • Traveling by plane (due to changes in air pressure)

Some people may be more likely to experience sinus pressure headaches than others because of the natural anatomy of their sinuses. Each sinus cavity is like a room with a window. If the window gets shut, then the pressure or fluid in the room builds.

People with persistent sinus problems have naturally small windows. If the lining around their sinus openings swells, the window “shuts,” and they experience all the unpleasant symptoms associated with sinus pressure headaches.

If you have “small windows” and are more prone to getting sinus headaches, don’t worry! There are still ways to find relief.

5 Solutions for Sinus Pressure Headaches

1. Use a Decongestant

Oral decongestants can provide immediate relief from sinus headache symptoms. Some common options you might see in stores include:

  • Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
  • Suphedrine PE, Wal-Phed PE, etc. (phenylephrine)

While these decongestants can be helpful, they have some side effects, like increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, dizziness, and insomnia. So it’s best to only use them every once in a while, and to consult your doctor before use if you have a history of heart disease. 

Topical decongestants like Afrin (oxymetazoline) nasal spray are also effective, but you shouldn’t use them for more than a few days. If you do, you can experience something called rebound congestion, making your original symptoms worse.

2. Use Steroid Medications

Decongestants work immediately, but only provide short-term relief from sinus headache symptoms. To keep those sinus “windows” open and get long-term relief, you might need to try a steroid like:

  • Flonase (fluticasone)
  • Nasonex (mometasone)
  • Rhinocort (budesonide)
  • Nasacort (triamcinolone)

These medications usually come as nasal sprays and belong to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids. They work by reducing swelling and inflammation in your nasal passages.

3. Try Nasal Irrigation

Nasal saline irrigation is another treatment method that uses salt water to bathe and cleanse your nasal passages gently.

So, how does it work?

Essentially, you pour a saltwater solution into one of your nostrils and let it flow through your nasal cavity into the other nostril. As it travels through your nasal passages, it washes out mucus and allergens to reduce your symptoms.

For effective nasal irrigation treatment, you’ll need saline solution and a container, like a syringe, squeeze bottle, or Neti pot. You can buy a pre-packaged set at most drugstores with everything you need to get started.

You’ll likely see results after rinsing your nasal passages once or twice. Research indicates that nasal irrigation can significantly relieve acute or chronic sinus symptoms and inflammation, clear nasal secretions, and reduce post-nasal drip.

4. Get Balloon Sinus Dilation

Balloon sinus dilation is a minimally invasive procedure performed under local anesthesia at an ENT’s office. It’s a treatment for chronic sinusitis (long-lasting sinus inflammation, swelling, and infection) and is quick and safe.

During the procedure, the ENT doctor inserts a small balloon into your nose using an endoscope, a small medical device with a light and camera. Then they gently inflate the balloon to permanently enlarge your sinus cavities.

Most people recover within one to two days and enjoy long-term relief afterward. We typically recommend balloon sinus dilation to people with chronic sinus symptoms that haven’t responded well to other treatments like decongestants or nasal steroid sprays. 

5. Consider Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Unlike balloon sinus dilation, which follows the natural contours of your sinus cavities and expands the openings, endoscopic sinus surgery completely removes blockages from your sinuses.

This type of sinus surgery is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. We complete the entire surgery through the nose with an endoscope, eliminating the need to make any incisions in the skin. 

During the procedure, the ENT doctor inserts the endoscope into your nose. Then, they carefully remove anything that they see keeping the sinuses from draining, including mucous membrane, polyps, tumors, or bone.

Balloon sinus dilation is a little like taking those “windows” in your sinus cavities and turning them into doors, while endoscopic sinus surgery is like completely remodeling the house.

It takes most people about a week to recover from endoscopic sinus surgery, and it’s not usually painful. You can expect to experience some nasal congestion. We recommend irrigating your nose once or twice daily to speed up your recovery time.

Not everyone with acute or chronic sinus pressure headaches needs endoscopic sinus surgery. But if you have ongoing congestion and infection that isn’t improving, it might be right for you.

Infographic: How Sinus Pressure Headaches Happen (Plus What to Do)

When to Call an ENT About Sinus Pressure Headaches

Sinus headaches are incredibly uncomfortable and can make it difficult to function at work, school, or home. If you experience persistent and bothersome sinus pressure headaches, it’s time to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor. An ENT doctor can help you determine the right treatment based on your situation.

The sooner you take steps to address the root of the problem, the faster you’ll start feeling better!

What Is a Nasal Endoscopy and Do You Need One?

“Nasal endoscopy.”

Just the words sound intimidating. Your doctor wants to put a tube… where?

Fortunately, a nasal endoscopy is one of those scary-sounding medical terms that sounds much worse than it actually is.

Read on to find out why, despite how it sounds, a nasal endoscopy really isn’t bad at all — we promise!

What Is a Nasal Endoscopy?

A nasal endoscopy is a simple way for your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor to look deeper inside your nasal passages. The physician first sprays a local anesthetic into your nose to numb your nasal passages and the back of your throat. They then insert an endoscope, a very thin tube with a tiny light and camera on its tip, into your nostril and use it to see all around inside the back of your nose and throat.

Depending on the purpose of the nasal endoscopy, your physician will use one of two kinds of endoscopes.

Flexible Endoscope Tubing

Sometimes your ENT just needs to take a quick look around inside your nose or throat. An exploratory nasal endoscopy like this usually involves a very flexible endoscope tube, which the physician guides with handheld controls. This tiny tube can turn and bend to allow the doctor a good view of anything they need to see. The camera on the end of the endoscope sends detailed video from within the nose to an eyepiece the physician wears.

Rigid Endoscope Tubing

Sometimes a physician needs to use an endoscope for more than just looking around. If they’re also performing a procedure, such as a sinus surgery, an ENT surgeon will use a rigid endoscope so the tube remains steady and in place. They can hold the rigid endoscope with one hand while operating the surgical instruments with the other hand. In this case, the endoscope’s camera usually sends video to a large monitor that the doctor, and sometimes even the patient, can see.

Who Needs a Nasal Endoscopy?

Since we can’t see all the way into the nose just by shining a light up a patient’s nostril, we often use an endoscope to look deeper. When a patient comes in with a complaint that we can’t entirely explain simply by looking up the nose with the naked eye, we can use a flexible endoscope to look for an explanation right there in the office.

What Is a Nasal Endoscopy and Do You Need One? Infographic

Health concerns we might investigate using nasal endoscopy include:

  • Suspected deviated septum
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Loss of ability to smell (unrelated to COVID-19 virus)
  • Nasal blockage of unknown origin
  • Nasal or sinus infection
  • Nasal polyps
  • Spinal fluid leaking from the nose
  • Suspected tumor in the nose

Patients may also need a nasal endoscopy as part of a separate procedure, like endoscopic sinus surgery.

Risks and Side Effects of Nasal Endoscopy

A nasal endoscopy is incredibly low risk. Many times, the complications from medical procedures arise from the general anesthesia. Nasal endoscopy carries none of those risks since it only involves a topical numbing spray that wears off shortly afterward.

In essence, a nasal endoscopy is just looking around. You can think of it similarly to how you’d view a doctor looking into your ear or your mouth. You don’t have to worry about side effects or complications from a tongue depressor, and you don’t have to worry about them with a nasal endoscopy either.

If you’re nervous about feeling pain from a nasal endoscopy, you don’t have to worry. While you may feel a small amount of pressure, you shouldn’t feel any pain at all. As far as after-effects, the worst you might experience is a little nosebleed, and even that is rare.

At ENT Associates of Lubbock, we’ve been performing nasal endoscopies five to ten times per day every day for many, many years. After tens of thousands of nasal endoscopies, we’ve never had a complication.

Before, During, and After Your Nasal Endoscopy

Because a simple nasal endoscopy isn’t surgery, there’s nothing you need to do to prepare. You don’t need to fast or take any special antibiotics. We’ll give you a quick spritz of lidocaine to make sure your nose is numb before inserting the endoscope. The whole process only takes a few minutes, and then you’re on your way!


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