May 2, 2013

Update on Migraine from Davids perspective

As many of you know, my wife, Susan has suffered Migraine Headaches for about 25 years (for many years, I've often joked that if any of "you" were married - 24 years, to me you'd also have migraines!).  The only time Susan has had any relief was when she was either pregnant or nursing the children (a hormone, relaxin, that allows women's joints to "loosen" for easier labor and child birth is probably the reason she remained headache free during this period).  Two years after Sarah finished nursing, the headaches returned. 

In our long quest to find a cure (and we've tried many, many different Doctors and treatments), it looks like we found a Doctor (actually a dentist) that knows how to perform a "root cause analysis" on Susan's Migraine Headaches.  He asked Susan to bite down 4 times and sustain the bite on the 4th time on oral device that was hooked up to a computer.  The results were plain to even a simpleton like me:  On a bar chart that represented the pressure of the individual teeth, the back teeth (especially on the left side) were at a pressure reading that was 4X the standard deviation of the pressure range.  Like closing a hard backed book, with a pencil near the inside of the spine, would  distort and tear open the Spine of that book, her rear teeth are working as a wedge (actually, a fulcrum) and distorting the mandible joint (the joint at your jaw and skull). 

The pain she is having is "referred pain" from "hot" muscles (actually irritated much past the point of spasms, to where Susan screamed when the Dentist touched her muscles that close the jaw on the inside right of her mouth).   Looking back on historic events, Susan's migraine headaches started in February of 1988, as she was having Orthodonic work (her Orthodontist had originally suggested that she have her lower jaw broken, to correct a recessive jaw line.  She declined his suggestion.)  When her smile was 95% corrected she had her braces removed, a few months before we were married.

We are going through with this treatment, as we probably spent at least the same amount last year on Doctor's visits (to migraine headache centers in Greensboro and Winston-Salem), Emergency Room visits (2 in one weekend due to a drug interaction that caused Susan to have a runaway Blood Pressure event (226/150 when we got to the Emergency Room about an hour later at 5:45 AM Saturday!), and many different pain relief drugs that leave Susan in what could be best described as a "stupor."  We think this very well could be a LIFE ALTERING event.  The first treatment is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend and will go on for a period of 12 weeks.  Treatments will include:

  1. Dental work to reduce the contact between teeth (Bite Adjustment) at the rear of her mouth, to lessen pressure on the rear teeth and evenly distribute bite pressure (includes a panoramic X-Ray)
  2. A dental appliance to prevent her from grinding her teeth while sleeping
  3. TENS unit therapy to calm the muscles that are "hot" to end the referred pain and headaches and
  4. Alpha-STIM Delivery Therapy as well as physical therapy to retrain her muscles

So we are hopeful that by the end of the summer, she (we) will have a new more active life (that will help some of the secondary health issues that come with a sedintary lifestyle, since she can rarely participate due to the pain).  We will keep you informed.

No comments: