I talked briefly about my battle with migraines a few months ago. I was getting anywhere from two to four of them a week. I went to my doctor and we tried two different kinds of muscle relaxers and various prescription anti-inflammatory medications. And this was AFTER I went through 6 months of physical therapy last year. She finally referred me to a pain management specialist after my cervical MRI came back clear. The pain management doctor sent me to a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) specialist. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. I had just been to the dentist and he gave me the all clear. The TMJ specialist ordered another MRI, focusing on my jaw joints. Turns out, the cartilage in my joints had been completely crushed. This was causing the unexplainable neck pain that was causing the migraines, she said. So I was fit for a bite splint and a special kind of night guard to realign my bite so that the cartilage could heal. The bite splint is a piece of acrylic that fits over my bottom teeth, and I wear it all day. Then I switch to the night guard that covers my top teeth and doesn’t allow my back teeth to touch (or grind) while I’m sleeping. My only issue with the splints is that the one I wear during the day makes me lisp slightly. So I’ve been really self conscious about that.
BUT. Here’s the exciting part. I haven’t had a migraine in two weeks. NOT A SINGLE ONE. And since I’ve started treatment I’ve only had one. So even though I thought this TMJ stuff was bullshit, it appears to be working. I go in to see the specialist bi-weekly and the last time I went in she gave me a trigger point injection in a giant knot I had in my back since I was 16. It’s now miraculously gone. Well, maybe it’s not a miracle, but it feels pretty damn good.
I’m only about a month into treatment, and the average treatment is 3-6 months, so I’ve got a bit to go. But if you suffer from chronic migraines and neck pain, I would suggest getting checked out by a TMJ specialist in your area. I read some statistic that TMJ is often misdiagnosed as chronic migraine syndrome.