Frequent migraines are more than just headaches that you can take aspirin for and be fine. Migraines are often characterized by throbbing head pain that can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, disorientation, and loss of vision. Medication can momentarily diminish migraine pain, but it does not always help. Discovering and addressing the cause of your pain is essential for preventing future headaches. If you experience frequent migraines, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) could be the culprit. Not only do these debilitating headaches disrupt your work and social life, but your migraines could also be negatively impacting your family.
Preliminary results from a survey-based study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting on May 22nd of this year that demonstrated the impact of migraines on family life. More than 1,000 adults participated in the web-based study, 990 of whom suffer from chronic migraines (defined as experiencing 15 or more headache days per month). The study also became the first to include survey results from family members of chronic migraine sufferers to gauge the impact migraines had on them.
Participants answered questions aimed at discovering the impact of migraines on marital relationships, family activities, parent-child relationships, and overall well-being. More than 72% of migraine sufferers expressed feeling that they would be a better romantic partner with fewer migraines. Almost 60% felt that they would be better parents without migraines. These feelings of inadequacy may be related to family time lost to migraine pain. Participants reported spending seven fewer days a month participating in family activities, more than six days a month of decreased enjoyment of time spent with partners, and around four days a month of canceled family plans. Spending quality time with family is important, and migraines can keep you from optimum family time.
Migraines can be managed using medications that dull the pain enough for you to participate in family activities. Although these medications can effectively calm the pain, they can come with some nasty side effects. Triptans, the most commonly prescribed migraine medication, can cause nausea, dizziness, chest or throat pain, and increased blood pressure. If you have hypertension or heart disease, or have experienced a stroke, the use of triptans is not recommended. As with many medications, the side effects aren’t much better than the symptoms they are designed to treat. These medications serve better as a last resort when all other avenues have failed.
Sometimes, migraine pain can come from sources that you wouldn’t expect. One possible cause of migraines is TMJ, a disorder of the jaw joint. TMJ usually results from a misalignment of your jaw caused by a bad bite. Symptoms may include jaw pain, jaw popping and clicking, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and headaches. When your jaw is misaligned, it creates muscle tension that puts pressure on the nerves and muscles in your face. This tension can cause frequent headaches or migraines. Correcting problems in your jaw can offer you a more long-term headache solution.
Your treatment will be created based on your individual pain. Dr. Mejia will begin by using a TENS unit to relax the muscles in your face, which relieves muscle tension and relaxes the muscles around your jaw. Once your muscles are relaxed, Dr. Mejia can measure your optimal bite and create a plan to stabilize it. By stabilizing your bite, Dr. Mejia can help you achieve a more long-term solution for your migraines and jaw pain without the risk of organ-damaging medication.
If you suffer from frequent headaches paired with jaw pain, please contact Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake today to learn more about how neuromuscular dentistry can help you manage your pain.