Migraines & Chronic Headaches
Most headaches, including migraines, may feel as though they are in your brain. In reality, the pain is actually coming from inflamed muscles of the head and neck. The location and severity of the pain can vary depending on which muscles are involved and how severe the inflammation is. The role of neuromuscular dentistry involves identifying and treating inflamed, hyperactive muscles and nerves. Frequently, with headache patients, the source of the pain is inflamed muscles caused by chronic clenching and grinding of the teeth. This chronic clenching can be triggered by a bad bite. While teeth may look perfectly straight, they may not contact in a way that allows the muscles to remain relaxed. Indeed, many patients that have received conventional orthodontic treatment find that their teeth look perfectly straight and yet they suffer chronic headaches or migraines and never associate their headaches with their bite.
The symptoms of headaches can vary from merely annoying pain to debilitating, excruciating pain that makes normal daily activity impossible. Mild headaches are frequently treated with typical over-the-counter pain medicine such as Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprophen, etc., usually with good results. When headaches become more severe, especially with migraines, patients would see their physician for treatment. There are a number of prescription medications used to treat severe headaches and migraines such as Amitriptyline, Imitrex, Topamax, etc. Success with these medications varies with few patients ever really achieving complete relief. The foundation of conventional headache and migraine treatment has focused on this management of symptoms with medication without treatment of the root cause, the source of the actual pain.
Neuromuscular dentistry is the foundation of modern headache treatment. Treatment begins with a thorough history and examination including complete EMG evaluation of the head and neck. After the examination and diagnosis, a course of treatment can be chosen. The exciting aspect of neuromuscular dentistry is that many treatment modalities involve completely reversible temporary treatments, which allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. This initial therapy will allow you and your dentist to decide on a long-term solution for your chronic headaches. After treatment, most neuromuscular patients have found that they can finally live a PAIN-FREE, DRUG-FREE life.
Neuromuscular dentistry uses sophisticated technology to assess and treat problems with the bite.
In diagnosing headache pain, EMG readings are taken of the muscles of the head and neck. This allows us to determine the location and cause of the headache. This is a completely painless procedure similar to an EKG.
As shown here, a low frequency TENS unit is used to relaxed the muscles of the head and neck in order to find the most comfortable relaxed position.
Once the muscles are relaxed, additional equipment is used to measure and record the new relaxed, comfortable jaw position. This instrument looks complex but is actually quite comfortable.
Cure for MigrainesWhen all the measurements are taken, Dr Chase will review all the data and develop a diagnosis. At the consultation appointment Dr Chase will explain the results and the diagnosis so that you will have a better understanding of your condition. At this point you and Dr. Chase can discuss treatment options, expectations and a final course of treatment.