City Woman: Finally pain-free thanks to BotoxBy Leigh Mencarini
February 08, 2010
Botox is often credited for changing people’s lives, thanks to the wonders it can work on wrinkles.
But Katie Bowers, from Central Reading, didn’t opt for the injections for younger-looking skin. She just wanted rid of agonising headaches she’d suffered from for years.
Katie, 32, would tap her teeth together as she fell asleep at night.
It meant she woke most mornings with an excruciating pain in her jaw and a debilitating headache – similar to those who grind or clench their teeth in their sleep. It’s a condition known as bruxism.
“I would lie there and hear myself doing it,” she recalls.
“I would wake up in the morning in such pain. You feel like you’ve been punched in the jaw on both sides every day, or like you want your teeth to fall out.”
A mouthguard didn’t seem to help, either. But Katie, a PA for a building surveyors firm, read about a revolutionary treatment being offered here in Reading.
Dr Bob Khanna, whose dental and medical aesthetics clinic is based on Queens Road, developed the Dr BK Lift, a technique he currently teaches to other dental and medical professionals.
It involves injecting Botox into strategic points of the jaw muscles.
“Dr Bob looked at me and straight away said ‘this is the problem you have’. I don’t think I even told him – he knew exactly where my problem was,” says Katie.
“He could feel in my temple why the pain was there.”
Katie’s overworked muscles had given her something of a square jaw line – a telltale sign of her problem.
“It was almost like how a guy might work out at the gym with weights,” she says.
“It made me look tired and because the muscles were overworked you feel masses of tension in your head.
“When he [Dr Khanna] said Botox, I thought great – I’d have had an operation I was in so much pain.”
The course of injections into Katie’s upper and lower jaw began in November last year, which she says just felt like a “tiny scratch”.
The procedure takes only about 10 minutes.
Botox is used as it relaxes the muscle – much like it does for other neurological conditions that cause muscle spasms – allowing for Katie to subconsciously overcome her ‘tapping’ habit.
Within three days, Katie said she’d stopped tapping altogether.
“It was such a great relief,” she says. “There was no tension, I didn’t need to take paracetamol anytime.
“You’re no good to anyone with those awful headaches so I was better with friends and at work during the day.
“I’d wake in the morning and I didn’t have that awful tense feeling. I had lost the anxiety of trying to stop the tapping, so now I could sleep.”
The knock-on effect of the treatment also meant that within six weeks, Katie’s square jaw softened and gave her a more feminine face.
“My face had totally thinned out,” she says.
“Before, if I put on any weight I would look like a big ball. I looked big even though I’ve never been bigger than a 10, even if I wasn’t carrying any extra pounds. So the change made a difference to my confidence as well.
“I used to have bad skin and I’d get breakouts on my chin. But since my jaw has thinned my stress levels have gone down, so my skin has cleared up.”
In fact Katie, who originally hails from Sydney, Australia, and moved to Reading last year, says the treatment even had a positive effect on her love life.
“Because I was feeling so bad I wouldn’t want to go out or meet anyone,” she recalls.
“You don’t want to see people because you feel so tired. So then when the tension left I was able to relax.”
Katie is now dating a man she’s known for a while.
“We finally got talking after my treatment. It’s going really well!” she smiles coyly.
But she says she wishes she’d have known about the treatment sooner.
“If I’d have known about it before I’d have travelled better – and I’d have looked better in photos!
“I’m just so grateful to Dr Bob. It really has changed how I feel.”