Each year thousands of Martin County residents are involved in car accidents. Here are 3 reasons to choose chiropractic care after a car accident. Some car accidents cause minor damage while others cause major damage. The severity of the damage to vehicles and the severity of the injuries vary. Did you know that the vehicle […]
Chiropractic Treatment of Headaches
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction a.k.a. myofascial pain disorder is a surprisingly common complaint. At best TMJ problems can cause annoying and sometimes painful clicking. At it’s worst, Temporomandibular joint dysfunction can cause painful headaches.
How can I tell if it’s TMJ?
TMJ dysfunction often presents with a dull, aching pain in and around the ear. In some cases, the pain travels to the side of the scalp, back of the head or down into the neck. Tenderness in the jaw area and neck is common
TMJ dysfunction is often made worse by chewing, excessive talking or yawning.
What causes TMJ dysfunction?
TMJ dysfunction rarely has a single defining cause. Instead, it is usually the result of several contributing factors including:
- Degenerative joint disease affecting the jaw can cause motion issues and pain.
- Stress and associated grinding of teeth can cause extreme jaw pain and headaches.
- A history of trauma involving the jaw can also play a role in TMJ dysfunction.
Often it is a combination of all of these factors that leads to TMJ dysfunction.
How do you treat TMJ?
Chiropractors can provide significant relief of the pain caused by TMJ dysfunction by manipulation.
Unfortunately, most people are unaware that the jaw can be adjusted.
Adjusting the jaw is a delicate procedure that requires a skilled hand using a very light technique or gentle chiropractic care. Because of the finesse involved, there usually isn’t the satisfying “clunk” which accompanies many other joint manipulations.
A series of TMJ adjustments by a skilled chiropractor can be the determining factor in whether concurrent TMJ therapies are able to provide long term relief.
Reducing muscle spasms is another important part of chiropractic treatment of TMJ dysfunction which is key in helping to reduce the associated headaches almost immediately.
TMJ dysfunction pain often affects other nearby areas , and effective chiropractic treatment includes reducing the spasm in other affected areas including the muscles of the neck, shoulders and face.
The muscle spasms associated with TMJ dysfunction must be directly addressed to achieve long term relief of TMJ headaches and pain. Muscle spasm reduction and release is achieved by using trigger point therapy, a temporarily uncomfortable but very effective form of muscle release.
The Role of Stress Reduction
A third often overlooked but very important component in treating TMJ dysfunction and associated headaches is stress reduction.
Many TMJ headache sufferers clench and grind their teeth subconsciously as a reaction to stress. This relentless clenching and grinding can contribute to the development TMJ pain/headaches.
You can mitigate teeth clenching and grinding with a mouth piece but to achieve long term pain relief it must be used with relaxation techniques for long term success.
If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms or headaches and wish to discuss your treatments options please call 855-509-5400 to schedule your appointment goday.
Cluster headaches are also called “suicide headaches” because of the extreme pain that they cause. Cluster headaches are a rare but devastating form of non-life threatening headaches. These headaches occur in cycles with each cycle lasting weeks to months.
Cluster headaches result when the trigeminal nerve is often pinched, compressed, or shifted improperly due to a spinal misalignment. With that in mind, a chiropractor is ideally suited to help you treat your cluster headaches.
While attending USF, Dr. Danielle of Advanced Wellness Solutions was involved in a serious car accident. Her injuries caused trigeminal nerve pain, which is described as the most excruciating pain known to humanity. Fortunately, she saw a chiropractor (also a Palmer grad), who was able to successfully treat her injuries that caused her cluster headaches. As a result, she was able to complete her bachelor’s degree and go on to graduate from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange Florida.
During the cluster headache cycle, headaches can happen as frequently as every day and last for a few minutes to a few hours. After going through a cycle of cluster headaches, the sufferer will go into a period of remission. During this period of remission no headaches will occur. A period of remission can last anywhere from several months to years.
How do you know if your headache qualifies as a cluster headache?
The symptoms of a cluster headache are pain that is sudden, severe and on one side of the face. The pain often centers around one eye. This pain can be so intense that patients report feeling as if a hot poker has been stabbed into their eye.
The International Headache Society 1criteria is
“a minimum of 5 attacks in a predictable manner [about the same time every day] with severe unilateral periorbital pain peaking in 10-15 minutes and lasting up to 3 hours plus any of the following on the same side: ptosis, red eye, constricted pupil, tearing, nasal congestion and a runny nose. Attacks can occur several times per day for one to several weeks. Then recurrence may not occur for months.”
Other symptoms that often occur are:
- excessive tearing
- redness in your eye on the affected side
- stuffy or runny nasal passage in your nostril on the affected side of your face,
- pale skin (pallor) on your face,
- swelling around your eye on the affected side of your face,
- drooping eyelid (ptosis).
Seek emergency care if you have any of these signs and symptoms:
- Abrupt, severe headache, often like a thunderclap
- Headache with a fever, nausea or vomiting, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, numbness, or speaking difficulties, which may indicate a number of problems, including stroke, meningitis, encephalitis or brain tumor
- Headache after a head injury, even if it’s a minor fall or bump, especially if it gets worse.
- A sudden, severe headache unlike any other headache you’ve experienced
- Headache that gets progressively worse over days and changes in pattern
What causes cluster headaches?
Because of the cycles of intense pain, patients who suffer from cluster headaches can be emotionally raw by the time they seek treatment. This is why speaking with a qualified therapist or counselor is very important. These headaches are severe and have earned the nickname suicide headaches for a reason. In addition to individual therapy, there are also support groups available solely for suffers of cluster headaches.
The cause of cluster headaches is unknown. However an abnormality in the hypothalamus may be to blame due to the clockwork like nature of the attacks. Food and hormones do not appear to play a role but with the splitting headaches that can occur with alcohol consumption, cluster headache suffers tend to avoid alcohol.
Some factors that may affect or trigger cluster headaches:
- Barometric pressure changes
- Napping in the afternoon
- In males parasympathetic activation and sympathetic suppression
- Family history of cluster headaches
- How do you treat cluster headaches?
Treatments for cluster headaches are often palliative (treatments which relieve the pain and make you feel better) with treatment centering on the relieving the pain.
Standard medical intervention includes several pharmaceutical interventions such as oxygen, triptans and local anesthetics.
If taken in the evening, 10 Milligrams of Melatonin can help to reduce nighttime episodes.
Alternative treatments such as chiropractic care and acupuncture are most effective at relieving the symptoms of cluster headaches, but are minimally effective at completely resolving the cycles of cluster headaches.
Because of the intense pain, patients who suffer from cluster headaches are often emotionally and physically drained from the cycles by the time they seek treatment.
Chiropractic care can help to relieve tension in the cervical area due to stress and provide nutritional counseling. Nutritional intervention has been shown to be effective in reducing cluster headaches and cycles.
If you are experiencing cluster headaches and wish to discuss your treatments options, please call 855-509-5400 to schedule your appointment.
“Home & News.” International Headache Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
“Cluster Headache.” Definition. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.