There are a number of different types of headache, but a migraine attack is more than just a bad headache. It can be a very severe painful attack affecting the eyesight and causing a physiological response, such as vomiting.
There are several causes for migraines, and in some cases the attack is brought on by a problem in the jaw. In this instance, dental neuromuscular therapy could help.
Neuromuscular dentistry is a growing area which focuses on the function of the jaw position and looks at movement during chewing and swallowing.
Dental therapists specialising in this area use high tech equipment to look at the pattern and movement of the opening and closing of the jaw. Therapists also look to see which muscles are at rest and which are not.
From this information the dentist can work out whether or not the position of the jaw needs altering, not only in order to cure the bite, but also to cure recurring migraines.
Using a Computerised Mandibular Scan (CMS) therapists attach a tiny magnet to the lower jaw. This in turn is attached to electronic monitoring equipment that gathers data about jaw movement.
Depending on the results of this test, the dentists can determine the correct course of action, such as whether the jaw needs to be adjusted by means of an orthotic.
An orthotic is plastic appliance which, like braces on teeth, helps to adjust the position of the lower jaw so that the person’s bite is correct. Dentists generally believe it is this incorrect positioning of the jaw that is the root cause of migraines in some people.
However, orthotics are only used as a temporary measure. They are worn for a certain period of time in order for the therapist to properly assess what needs to be done.
If a permanent solution is required, then surgery may be necessary.
Migraines can be very distressing for people, with some lasting days. But in time, as medical and dental scientists begin to understand the connection between migraines and the oral cavity and jaw, they could cure the problem for thousands of people.