There are several drug free approaches to chronic headache which involve physical medicine. These include physical therapy and physiatry, massage therapy, trigger point injections, chiropractic and osteopathic adjustments, naprapathy and exercise approaches including yoga and strenthening exercises.
One of the most successful approaches to treating chronic headaches and migraines is Neuromuscular Dentistry. TMD, TMJ, Temporomandibular disorders are well known to physicians particularly ENT's. Costens Syndrome (TMD) was originally described by a St Louis otolaryngologist, Dr Costen in St Louis. Frequently patients experience not only headaches but also ear pain and pain or clicking in the TM Joints or Jaw Joints.
Many patients with jaw disorders do not have the classic joint symptoms but only have headaches, neck pain , migraines or sinus pain. Neuromuscular Dentistry can frequently offer amazing results to patients with severe headaches. Dr Ira L Shapira, a Gurnee dentist who has practiced Neuromuscular Dentistry for over 30 years has recently created a new website offering help to headache patients. The website http://www.ihateheadaches.org discusses how Neuromuscular Dentistry can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments to drastically improve the quality of life for headaches sufferers.
TMJ disorders are often called the Great Imposter because so many symptoms that are associated with them are treated incorrectly because the proper diagnosis is never made. Frequently there are both primary and secondary problems associated with TMD problems.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorders (TMD) include:
Muscle Pain and/or Fibromyalgia
Sinus Pain or Fullness
TM Joint Pain and Clicking
TM Joint Locking
Retro-orbital Pain (pain behind the eyes)
Feelings of Lightheadedness
Ring in the ears, Tinnitus
Hand and Arm numbness
and many other "wierd" symptoms
The reasons for the widespread pain and diverse symptoms have to do with the Trigeminal nervous system. The trigeminal nerve accounts for over 50% of the total input into the brain from the entire body. The Trigeminal nerve or Fifth Cranial Nerve is also known as the dentists nerve. It primarily goes to the teeth, jaw muscles, jaw joints, teeth and periodontal membranes of the teeth. However, it also innervates the lining of the sinuses, the tensor of the ear drum, the tensor of the soft palate that opens and closes the eustacian tubes and most important of all it controls the blood flow to the meninges of the anterior two thirds of the brain. The trigeminal nerve is directly responsible for the majority of headaches. It is also responsible for central sensitization of the brain found in Fibromyalgia, neuralgias RSD and/or CRPS. There is a large autonomic component to the Trigeminal Nerve that can cause multiple problems seemingly unrelated to the jaws and teeth. These connections are why patients so frequently do not find the relief they are seeking.
Correction of the Trigeminal nervous sytem is accomplished by utilizing Neuromuscular Dentistry and a diagnostic intra-oral orthotic. The first step is to get complete or greatly reduced symptoms utilizing reversible treatments for TMD problems.
Dr Ira L Shapira is a licensed genral dentist who has been treating sleep disorders, TMD and headaches for 30 years utilizing Neuromuscular Dentistry. His Gurnee office is Delany Dental Care Ltd. He can be reached at 847-623-5530 or 1-800-TM-Joint. His dental website also contains valuable information about Neuromuscular Dentistry http://www.delanydentalcare.com/
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I HATE Headaches LLC provides information on Neuromuscular Dental Treatment of headaches and migraines. I HATE CPAP LLC provides information on Dental Sleep Medicine and alternative to CPAP for patients who are CPAP intolerant. The website http://www.ihatecpap.com has valuable information on treating sleep apnea utilizing oral appliances.