If you are suffering from chronic headaches or migraines, you are not alone – frequent migraines affect 3% of Americans, and powerful tension headaches affect over 20% of people worldwide.
Chronic head pain sufferers are 3x more likely to become depressed and more likely to have anxiety, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. Chronic headaches can now be treated with more than just painkillers, although most people with headaches have never been professionally diagnosed and treated.
Migraines consist of intense, pulsing pain. It is one type of headache usually accompanied by a throbbing, pulsating pain in one side of the head. Migraines are accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light, and made worse by physical activity. Sometimes migraine sufferers experience visual disturbances. They last between 4-72 hours.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache (90%) severe chronic tension headaches often manifest as a feeling of intense pressure or tightness in a bend that wraps from the forehead to the back of the head & sometimes the neck – with moderate pain on the sides of the head.
These headaches usually persist for hours but could remain for several days. These are often misdiagnosed as migraines. Cluster headaches are rare and include intense pain around the eye, as well as occasional redness and tearing.
There’s no single trigger. There are external factors that contribute to head pain such as alcohol, caffeine, hormonal changes stress, medications, certain foods, changes in routine are also common triggers. It helps to keep a migraine or headache diary to pinpoint triggers to avoid.
The human bite can generate over 2100 pounds of force at the molars, and unless this pressure is perfectly balanced it can throw the delicate balance of the jaws muscles, tendons nerves, and ligaments into disarray.
Imbalances in the bite or jaw can cause nerve pain that manifests in the neck, face, and head, even if the jaw joint feels fine.
- Stress is a common factor and can cause muscle tension in the jaw and all over.
- Physical trauma
- Dental work, such as orthodontics
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Wear on your teeth and deterioration of muscle mass with age can cause headaches to occur.
Prevention medications attempt to prevent migraines and headaches before the start – typically beta-blockers, antihistamines, or anti-seizure meds. But those meds only work for 40% of people who take them and only reduce the frequency of a headache by 50%. During a headache, the most effective drugs to temporarily treat symptoms are pain relievers or triptans. It’s recommended that meds to treat head pain be limited to no more than 2x a week to prevent unwanted side effects.
Treatment options for migraines may include:
- Head & neck muscle exam
- Request for headache diary
- Bite evaluation & equilibrium
- Mouthguard or night guards
- Physical therapy
- Changes to lifestyle diet.
Contact Dr. Fisher to schedule a consultation