Dr. Shapira's Chicago Headache Blog

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Turning off a migraine headaches in seconds without drugs.

There is an very cool trick that can be used to provide instant relief for some migraines and tesion-type headaches. Because most headaches are trigeminal in orgin stimulation of the GAG reflex will often alleviate both headaches from muscle spasm and/or myofascial pain. The gag reflex is a protective reflex that prevents aspiration of vomit into the lungs by rapid wide opening of the mouth.

The GAG reflex causes the elevators of the mandible (mouth closing muscles) to instantly relax completely and the suprahyoid and infrahyoid muscles that are depressors of the mandible (mouth opening muscles) instantly contract. This causes a mouth opening like a snake as oposed to a normal hinge opening. If a patient has a tension-type headache,ETTH, chronic daily headache or muscle contraction headache from the jaw muscles they will frequently have complete or very significant headache relief. This same technique can also be used to reduce an acute close lock (joint locking that prevents opening) of the mandible.

Migraine headaches can also be turned off or sometimes prevented if this proceedure is done before a full migraine occurs. The mechanism is both reduction of muscle pain which is a significant portion of most migraines but also a change in the circulation to the anterior 2/3 rds of the meninges of the brain. The trigeminal nerve controls that blood flow and a forceful gag will often correct the vascular cause of the migraine thru trigeminal nerve changes. This can also be used by patients who do not have access to their headache medication.

It is very important to keep the teeth from touching after stimulating the gag reflex to prevent a return of the headache.

Many physicians and patients consider nauseau and vomiting associated with headaches to be diagnostic of migraines but this is not always the case. TMJ and muscle caused headaches frequently are associated with nauseau.

Patients who have migraines that are relieved after vomiting should consider the trigeminal nerve and its related muscles as a cause of their headaches. Neuromuscular Dentistry can frequently supply long-lasting relief for these patients. The gag reflex is a remedial maneuver that can relieve a severe headache but long-term improvement in the quality of life can be achieved for many patients by utilizing a diagnostic neuromuscular orthotic. If substantial relief is achieved the patient can the consider a long term correction based on the position of the jaw when wearing the orthotic.

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posted by Dr Shapira at 7:57 PM

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