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Most severe headaches are not migraine:

  • Virtually all headache experts agree that the overwhelming majority of headaches are caused by muscle contraction not migraine

  • Despite this, migraine has become a catchall term, even within the medical community, for any severe headache for which no other cause can be found. (Diagnostic ability, however, is limited to one's sphere of knowledge)

  • The labeling of a headache as migraine has more to do with severity rather than actual cause or symptoms

  • TMJ/TMD is the leading cause of muscle contraction headaches

  • The most frequent symptom of TMJ/TMD is HEADACHE

  • TMJ/TMD problems frequently show their first symptoms after vehicle accidents or sports or other head and neck trauma

Common symptoms of TMJ/TMD

  • Headache and pressure including tension and migraine type
  • Neck pain and/or stiffness
  • Face pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tooth grinding and/or clenching
  • Back ache
  • Clicking or other noises in jaw joint
  • Eye pain
  • Pain behind eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Depression
  • Ear Ringing or buzzing
  • Ear Pain
  • Hearing changes
  • Ear difficulty in elevators or airplanes
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in fingers and/or toes
  • Toothache with no identifiable cause
  • Multiple root canals
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Difficulty or pain with chewing
  • Jaw Joint Pain
  • Jaw locking

Lifestyle effects of TMJ/TMD

TMJ/TMD affects over 80% of the population to some extent. However, fortunately only a fraction of those affected require treatment.

The pain created by TMJ/TMD ranges from mild and intermittent, such as in the common tension-type headache, to severe, constant and intractable. The leading cause of this pain is spasms, or Charlie-horses in the muscles of the head and neck. This type of pain, in its severe form is most often confused, even by the medical community, with migraine. This confusion yields less than successful treatment when the migraine approach is attempted. Worse yet, it creates victims that, because they are labeled migraine, and believe that nothing further can be done, resign themselves to living with their affliction. Many, unfortunately, holding tightly to the migraine label, stop seeking treatment that might eliminate their pain and stop their dependence on pain reliever drugs.

Necessity for treatment, many times, is determined by the degree to which the pain symptoms influence one's lifestyle. When symptoms are mild and intermittent, many times, occasional use of over the counter pain relievers may be all that is necessary. As the severity of the symptoms increases, and the constant use of pain relievers becomes problematic and ceases to give relief, the pain may have catastrophic effect on the sufferer's lifestyle and life in general.

Severe unresolved head and neck pain, many times, destroys life quality and relationships, and can jeopardize one's ability to earn a living. The sufferer's agony is worsened when despite great efforts they are unable to find help. For many, daily life revolves around trying to cope with and search for relief from the excruciating pain with which they suffer. Unable to escape their pain and feelings of hopelessness, many of these victims become depressed. Some even consider suicide.

Fortunately, it has been our experience that most sufferers, even those severe long-standing cases can be treated non-surgically with a drug-free approach.

Dr A. Goldman

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