My Headaches Are Destroying My Relationships

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From www. e-mail

Susan: I have been having severe chronic daily headaches for over 5 years. I have been diagnosed as sinus headaches, migraines, atypical migraines, TMJ, Trigeminal Neuralgia. I have had numerous CAT Scans and MRI that all appear normal. I have tried multiple medications that seem to slightly ease the pain on a temporay basis but I do not remember the last time I was pain free. My marital life is a mess and my husband doesn’t understand how I can have so much pain when all the tests are normal. I am constantly yelling at the kids and the feel horribly guilty. My friends have all but cut off contact but it is probably my fault. I wish the scans could find a tumor so everyone would know the pain was real.
I’m desperate but that just seems to make the pain even worse.

Dr Shapira:
Susan, Please do not give up. I have heard many stories similar to yours. First, because all of the tests have been negative for disease there is excellent hope for significant improvement.. I suggest you seek out a Physiologic Dentist who also understands chronic Myofascial Pain and the use of Trigger Point Injections, Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks, Spray and stretch techniques.

Susan, it is important to understand that eliminating your pain is not a cure. You have been forever changed by the hell you have been experiencing. The only real cure would be a do-over on the last five years of your life. The goal of treatment is eliminate pain and restore quality to your life and allow you to reconnect with your husband, children, family and friends. The pain you have lived with has changed who you are forever but that may just make you appreciate your life more in the future.

The medical model for Chronic Headaches is diagnostic test and then perscription medicine. I find that patients who have symptoms you describe are easier to treat than expected. I usually spend 1-2 hours on an initial consultation with new patients. Initially we talk so I can understand who you are, how the pain is affecting you, your life and your family. The next part of the consultation is to try to eliminate some or all of the pain you are experiencing at that time.

I usually begin with trigger point deactivation of the cranial and upper body muscles. It is amazing how frequently we can elimnate all or most of the pain just by utilizing techniques described by Dr Janet Travell over 50 years ago. Dt Travell was President John F Kennedy’s physician.

The majority of all pain patients experience is muscular in orgin, and turning off the pain allows us to understand the undrlying processes. At this same visit we will make a trial change of proprioception into the central nervous system from the trigeminal nerves.

We can usually eliminate most pain during the first visit the hard work is to make these changes on a long term basis. I tell my patients to set a goal of 50-80% reduction in pain initially. As treatment progresses we continually try to remove 50-80% of remaining pain. This is accomplished by utilizing a diagnostic physiologic orthotic to change how the muscles function and to alter trigeminal nerve proprioceptive input to the brain.  Over time there are postural changes and healing.

I often find that I “meet” my patients at the third or fourth appointment.  The patient I meet initially is the person living in pain for months or years but after a few visits I meet the real person who was lost under an avalanche of pain.  There is a great joy in watching people recover and regain their lives.

I practice Physiologic Dentistry and Pain Treatment as part of my Chicago area TMJ practice.…

The connection between TMJ headaches and myofascial pain

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The connection between TMJ headaches and myofascial pain

TMJ headaches and myofascial pain, chicagoMost people associate pain with a physical problem in the same body region as the pain. This can be an inaccurate notion when the pain is associated with the chest, neck, and back, as well as certain headaches. Many headaches experienced around the ear may be the product of a local problem in the TMJ, or the temporo-mandibular joint, located just in front of the ear on each side of the face.

This is the a complex region of the body, and often disorders in the TMJ can result in facial pain, or myofascial pain syndrome. But, more extreme disorders can commonly extend to the neck and back area, as well as create chest pain in some cases.

TMJ misalignment

These pain episodes can often begin with a misalignment in the TMJ, which in turn puts pressure on the connected facial muscles. Depending on the tension created in the facial muscle region by the TMJ alignment problem, the pain can also shift down the chest in specific cases.

This possibility suggests that chest pain is not always associated with coronary problems, many times needing medical attention from a TMJ medical dentistry specialist. These bouts with assumed sympathy pain are the actual result of TMJ disorder in many cases, including some headaches.

How referred pain works

This referred pain delivery beginning in the TMJ and myofascial region of the body is actuated by trigger points in the taut band within the muscles.

The pain generated by the trigger point can extend to any connected body area, including the lower back, but it is most often causation for pain in the neck, upper back, and chest area. However, do not rule out the possibility of TMJ disorder migraines which can be located any where in the cranial region, as well as the central temple region next to the ear.

The repetitive motion dilemma

While TMJ disorders can occur from accidents resulting in injury, they can also be impacted by the repetitive motion nature of the facial and jaw joint tissues and muscles. People swallow approximately 2000 times per day, so it is easy to see how problems in the eating and swallowing mechanism of the body can have a serious impact on other regions, connected or otherwise.

People who are suffering from pain in the upper regions of the body should not rule out the damage potential from the constant movement in this body region.

Find relief

A TMJ dentistry professional may be able to provide a solution to the ultimate cause of the pain.  If you suspect TMJ is behind your pain, please schedule a consultation.