I?ve often asked my patients, ?To what extent has the pain from headaches impaired your daily activities, including work, and how often?? Identifying the intensity and frequency of headaches is important, however, it?s the answers to lifestyle questions that unveil the preferred treatment for each patient.
My guess is that many of us have sought the following common treatment options for headache relief: OTC pain relievers, prescriptions, and Botox. While these treatments may offer some relief, it is a challenge to find a consistent and predictable system to diagnose and treat patients who experience chronic migraines or headaches. It?s time to redirect our current thinking on treating headache pain and initiate something fresh into the mix. Snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, Trudenta, and nutrition are new areas you can integrate into your current standard of patient care.
The amount of quality REM sleep we get each night matters in relation to headaches and chronic migraines. What may start out as a headache in the morning may flow into a more serious health concern, such as Type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure, stroke, and erectile dysfunction.
Snoring can occur with or without sleep apnea. Yes, snoring is just about THE most annoying sound you can hear and it often contributes to loss of needed rest!
Encourage your patients to get tested! A sleep laboratory will help identify whether sleep apnea should be treated or if an oral appliance is needed for snoring.
Sleep disorders are contributors to headaches. There are many resources available to educate and help you introduce sleep apnea treatment into your practice. One company I recommend is 1800snoring.com.
According to Trudenta?s website, close to 80% of patients who have face/head/joint pain have had dental force related injuries. So how do you evaluate and document force injury in your dental office? If we can figure out how to do this in-office, using systems such as Trudenta, we may be able to help more patients chairside.
Trudenta is a system that calculates range of motion between head and neck; occlusion, dental anatomy, mastication physiology, and musculoskeletal anatomy. This system is predictable and consistent in its results.
Going further into malocclusion is a new concept for me. Below are some areas to expand upon in co-diagnosing malocclusion:
- Accelerated again or degenration of the TMJ or condyles
- Limited range of motion of the mandible or the cervical spine
- Presence of sore or painful muscles of the hand and neck, especially the presence of ?trigger points?
- Injuries that have occurred and affect any of the above structures or lifestyle activities
- Tooth damage related to abnormal forces
Basically, this system combines sports medicine into dentistry! Results are significant within 5-12 therapeutic treatments. I have personally attended a hands-on workshop and witnessed several dental practices take this new technology and create a whole program within the practice. For more information on Trudenta visit Trudenta.com.
Finally, nutrition is often overlooked regarding chronic headache pain. Each therapy mentioned above also encourages healthy food choices and supplements. I?ve educated my patients about usual food-associated suspects like chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, cheeses, and MSG. Most patients already know these foods may contribute to headaches.
Gluten flies under the radar in our nutritional counseling related to headache pain. You may help patients uncover a food allergy or health problem, such as Celiac disease, by suggesting they get checked out and find their gluten tolerance.
There are many kinds of headaches and levels of migraines. Unless you or someone you know has suffered from them, this pain directly affects one?s quality of life. Our posture, balance, occlusion, environment, malocclusion, poor nutrition, and sleep disorders are going to become our focus in getting your patients the treatment they deserve to get back in the game?of life.
Anastasia challenges dental professionals to continually raise the standard of patient care. She is an author in several dental industry publications and is published as an oral health source for numerous online consumer-based sites. Her weekly video blog on YouTube; Anastasia's Hump Day Happenings answers questions from the general public on oral health topics. Anastasia is a spokesperson, independent consultant, working with several companies to develop website content, social media presence, continuing education programs and in-office training for dental hygiene departments on product integration with team communication.