January 18, 2020

Teeth Grinding Can Cause Migraine Headaches!

When you go to the dentist, does he or she suggest that some of your dental problems may be attributed to teeth grinding? For me, this has been the case over the years, but I have conveniently managed to ignore my dentist when it comes to this issue; I simply cannot stand the idea of wearing one of those mouth guards. However, if you are stubborn like me but suffer from migraine headaches, you may want to re-think your stubbornness. I recently read an article by Dr. Lee Sheldon regarding the link between teeth grinding and the development of migraines, and this article makes a compelling argument that says teeth grinding can lead to migraines.

The article talks about how migraines occur when blood vessels in the head become engorged and press down on the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for pain behind the eyes and on the side of the head. This compression of the nerve produces the intense pain often associated with a migraine. This nerve, however, also has another function in which it controls the temporalis muscle and other muscles in the lower jaw. The temporalis muscle is located between your eye and ear, and when you clench your teeth, you can feel it bulge. Dr. Sheldon notes that when this particular muscle is strained, the trigeminal nerve begins firing. He goes on to point out that most people grind or clench their teeth in five second intervals during the night and it usually goes unnoticed. That is, until a migraine occurs. Dr. Sheldon cautions that the continuous grinding makes the nerve fire over and over, which in turn engorges the blood vessels, and finally, a migraine develops. Additionally, approximately forty-eight percent of migraines begin to occur between four and nine in the morning, just after a night full of teeth grinding.

Dr. Sheldon admits that most people do not think that they grind their teeth, and therefore, have no idea why migraines begin to develop. He advises people to take a good look at their teeth and if they are flat or the edges are jagged, it can usually be attributed to grinding. So, what can you do? As I mentioned earlier, most dentists and neurologists recommend wearing a dental appliance that can reduce the clenching and grinding, thereby reducing the excessive muscle and nerve tension leading to migraines. These appliances have been shown to reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. As much as it may pain you to have to get fitted for one of these mouth guards (I know I wouldn’t want to do it) the migraine pain probably far outweighs your painful pride!

Botox for Preventing Migraines??

Usually when people get plastic surgery it is for aesthetic purposes, such as fixing a crooked nose or erasing wrinkles from the face and neck. A new study, published in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, suggests that the drug botox, which is normally used to temporarily diminish wrinkles, may also be helpful in preventing certain types of migraines. The dermatologists conducting the study wanted to test whether using Botox is smaller doses had the same effect as prior studies in reducing the number of migraines that people experienced. In those prior studies it was discovered that individuals who experienced ocular and imploding headaches responded well to Botox. Individuals who experienced the exploding type of migraines did not respond to the Botox treatment. Additionally, these studies were conducted by neurologists, and in this study, the research was conducted by dermatologists in a cosmetic setting.

The dermatologists examined eighteen patients who were considering having Botox done for cosmetic purposes and who also suffered from migraines. Ten of these patients experienced ocular or crushing migraines, while the other patients suffered from exploding or pressure building headaches. Some of the patients even complained of experiencing both types of migraines. After three months of Botox treatments, the dermatologists found that thirteen of the patients reported a reduction in migraine pain, including all ten of the ocular headache sufferers and three of the exploding headache sufferers. Specifically, for those living with ocular migraines saw a decrease in their headaches from seven per month to one per month. In the exploding headache group, the patients saw a decrease from approximately eleven per month to nine per month.

Although this and previous studies appear to indicate that Botox may be beneficial for migraine treatment, use of the drug is still not largely advocated by the medical establishment, and the American Academy of Neurology has advised against its use for these debilitating headaches. The dermatologists conducting this study, however, believe that additional research is necessary to determine if Botox could be an alternative treatment for certain migraine sufferers who do not experience relief with traditional therapies. They assert that this small study, coupled with the prior Botox studies, make a good argument for the use of Botox for ocular migraines. In fact, some doctors, who have a patient who has not responded to regular migraine treatment, refer them to a dermatologist for Botox. Although insurance does not cover the treatments, approximately fifty percent of patients report a reduction in the headaches. What would be really interesting to know is what a person’s face looks like after all of the injections to keep the migraines at bay…