In many of the patients I have seen over the years, they have suffered from migraines for a very long time. When I first meet them and explain that from what I have seen most migraines are TMJ related, they balk and say ‘no way’ or ‘it’s not possible’. Most of them have been to neurologists and have received a battery of medications that just dopes them down and prevents them from getting restful sleep. Most of them are irritable and look like the life has been sucked right out of them. Little did they know that in many cases it’s just a displaced disc in the jaw joint causing the problem!
If you have the stomach for it, and would like a little glimpse into the anatomy of what we deal with every day, please check this out:
This is a dissection video so it’s not for the faint of heart- don’t go there if it might gross you out. Basically, if you do decide to look at this video, you can clearly see that the head/neck region is jam packed with all sorts of blood vessels, nerves, and muscles that all intertwine. So just imagine if you lost a few teeth and your jaw bone now collapses up into the jaw joint. This will effectively ‘pinch’ all those vessels and nerves and muscles and things and can readily lead to migraines. It’s not all that difficult to understand really. So now imagine, yours truly comes along and opens up the bite with either the ALF or the lower gelb style device. The pressure now comes off all those pinched up nerves and blood vessels, things flow properly, headaches are gone. This is what I see almost all the time folks! It ain’t rocket science!
Now you understand where the mix up comes in. Patients go to a neurologist because they think this is the kind of doctor that can help them with their headache, but little do they know that a slipped disc in the jaw joint can cause their pain. In addition, the neurology doctors, although well intended, are not versed in the art of TMJ management. They are well versed in the art of prescribing medications of course. I am not saying that ALL migraine cases are TMJ related, but with the ones I have seen, most seem to have a TMJ component to them.
In the past few years, several local neurologists have actually referred their patients to me! Some of them have realized that when that patient can only open to 25 mm or their joints are popping like crazy, they have a definitive underlying TMJ issue. One of our patients got better so quickly that her neurologist actually threw a party for her to celebrate her victory over the pain. That is the kind of neurologist I enjoy working with- someone who is open minded and really ‘gets it’.
So if you are someone who suffers from headaches and/or migraines, take a moment to figure out if it just might be TMJ disorder. It can’t hurt to figure it out, and who knows, it might be the actual answer to your problems!