Are Oral Issues Causing Your Migraines?
by Dr. Claire Stagg
Patients suffering from migraines can often feel hopeless and doubtful that they can find relief. Approaching a holistic dentist may feel like their last resort, however; it can bring a fresh whole-body perspective.
Headache patients usually suffer from imbalances, which can be chemical, hormonal, emotional, mechanical, functional, structural, oral, among others. There are many oral causes that could be the trigger for headaches and can be treated noninvasively. Many migraine sufferers have been offered Botox as a way to provide relief for these debilitating headaches. While Botox may provide relief, it does not always address the root cause of migraines and potentially may create a new set of issues.
The whole body is connected, and the mouth plays a very important part in its overall health. From a holistic viewpoint, injecting a neurotoxin such as the botulin toxin may have debilitating consequences by its mode of action. Killing off a nerve that “works” a muscle may cause it to eventually regenerate in another direction to continue innervating this same muscle. In this instance two things usually occur: the nerve ending that has been destroyed will eventually create a reactive neuroma which could grow in size, thereby, disfiguring the patient and creating more debilitating pain than the original pain it was meant to mask. Secondly, if the origin of the pain was not correctly diagnosed and only a symptom treated, then the overly contracted muscle will continue to contract, and all the root causes will manifest as before, sometimes more intensely and with shorter and shorter windows of respite.
A holistic dentist can work with a patient to consider dietary reactions, the patient's environment, and sleep apnea. If the patient is mouth-breathing instead of nasal breathing, it can possibly trigger obstructive sleep apnea. There are many symptoms associated with sleep apnea, including headaches. Other symptoms include cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, hypothyroidism, predisposition to diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) for women, weight gain, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and many others.
The position of a patient's jaw can indicate a TMJ disorder, a disc displacement, or other cranial dysfunctions, all of which also count headaches among their symptoms. The importance of a jaw’s position is not only in the position of the jaw itself in space, but in its relationship to the other jaw. If the jaws aren't positioned properly in relationship to one another, they compensate which results in additional muscle, nerve, and joint (head or neck) strain.
Since there can be a wide range of factors involved determining the cause of headaches, an interdisciplinary team of physicians and therapists for the mind and body can help patients attain optimum health and resolution to their problems.
Claire Stagg, DDS, MS, practices whole-body holistic dentistry at Health Connections Dentistry, 2120 Highway A1A in Indian Harbour Beach. She works with an interdisciplinary team of physicians for the mind and body. For more information, call 321-777-2797 or visit SmileProfessionals.com.