Don’t Let Headaches Keep Your From A Quality Life
How often do you feel like this woman in the picture?
I can certainly relate to that picture as I have had headaches all of my life.
Sometimes I’ve had bad migraines up to a couple of times a week, other times I’ve had daily headaches which were not nearly as debilitating as a migraine, but certainly uncomfortable. Currently I’m down to a nuisance headache once a week and a migraine once a month. For those of you without headaches, you may think that is too much, but I think it’s wonderful!
During the fall, I was in one of my daily headache phases. It was suggested that I go see Dr. Coker so he could use me as a guinea pig for a new headache treatment he was learning called DTR. I went just to humor him as I knew this would be one more treatment that didn’t work.
During my dental visits, EMG electrodes were placed around my face to measure the tension in my facial muscles. Then a computerized handle was placed in my mouth and I was instructed how to bite down on it and then how to move my teeth from side to side. The places where my teeth touched during this procedure registered on the big computer screen in front of me.
Dr. Coker read the findings of my muscle activity and how my teeth came together and then proceeded to adjust my teeth in tiny increments by “buffing” small spots on my teeth that showed up on the computer screen.
These measurements and the finely choreographed bite adjustments were repeated at three different dental visits spaced a few weeks apart.
By January, after my three appointments, I noticed I was no longer waking up with a headache every morning. Since going to the neurologist as a young adult, I’ve kept track of my headaches to see if any treatments worked. Of course, the “migraine” drugs worked, but there are serious side effects if you take them too often, and I noticed they often caused “rebound” headaches which meant another day of being miserable.
Looking at my headache record for the past three months, I’m amazed that I’m down to the level of headache activity mentioned above. This is one treatment that seems to be working… “knock on wood”….
Tyler, Texas Dentist, Rick Coker, Treats Migraines
Research has shown that headache patients who feel they have some control of their headaches have better outcomes, so what can you do for some control?
1.) Look for a dentist who fits a device called the NTI. I know you are thinking that I must not know what a migraine is. You are supposed to go to a neurologist or your primary-care physician, not a dentist.
In 1977, during his senior year in high school Jim Boyd started having daily headaches. He went to college and then to dental school and on to graduate school still having daily headaches. He tells of taking 10-12 Excedrin every day just to make the pain manageable. During the summer of 1989, he developed a device he thought would work. It did. After wearing it to bed, he woke up for the first time in 12 years without a headache.
This device has now been approved by the FDA for the prevention of migraine and other chronic headaches. The story of Dr. Jim Boyd and his invention is available for you to read if you want all the background.
If you live in East Texas, you will be able to find the NTI at Dr. Rick Coker’s Smile Studio If you live elsewhere, you can go to the headache remedy to find a dentist in your area.
2.) Keep a headache diary. You will want to keep track of your headaches on this journey so you will be able to tell the dentist (or doctor) about the type and the number of headaches you are having. This will be good to continue to keep as you go through treatment(s) so you can see whether you are getting any better. Some good downloadable ones are at Berkeley Health. There is also a free iHeadache app for your iPhone or your BlackBerry.
3.) See your dentist regularly and often. Your NTI dentist should ask to see you every two to four weeks for the first couple of months to keep abreast of how your are progressing. If you need to add or change any part of your treatment, this would be the time to learn about that. If you are doing great, your visits can then be scheduled for twice a year.
4.) Give treatments a chance. You must try out your new device for two to three months before deciding it’s not working.
5.) Check into mind-body practices such as biofeedback, relaxation, yoga and meditation. Adding these practices into your life may help you control your headaches sooner.
6.) If the NTI and the mind-body practices don’t work after you’ve given them 3-4 months, check with your dentist about referring you to a neurologist. Be sure and read the article, “The Scary New Migraine Mistake” by Peg Rosen in the October 2011 issue of More Magazine for precautions about drug therapy.