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Friday, February 26, 2010

MYOFASCIAL TRIGGER POINTS ARE EXPLAINED: TMJ disorders discussed at 2010 American Equilibration Society Meeting: New Hope for Headache Sufferers

I just attended the 2010 American EquilibrationSociety meetng in Chicago titled "TREATING THE TMD PATIENT: Putting the Puzzle pieces together". Great news for patients with migraines, tension headaches and Temporomandibular disorders.

The meeting opened with an excellent letter by Henry Gremillion, who was recently named Dean of the Louisiana School of Dentistry. He spoke on "MYOGENOUS OROFACIAL PAIN" or pain coming from the muscles. It is well known that the majority of pain has orgins in the muscles, including tension-type headaches and chronic daily headaches as well as most pain associated with TMD disorders.

Dr Gremillion quoted a scary study where a single injection of nerver growth factor, a compound found in sore muscles and around trigger points could activate nociception (pain) for up to 7 weeks not just in the area of injection but in distant muscular and joint areas. Because nerve growth factor is also released in painful areas it explains why treatment can take weeks to show effectiveness. These biochemical changes are associated with neuralplasticity and central sensitization.

There is also a cmlative effect where up to 50 first order neurons can feed into a single second order neuron leading to referred pain and explaining some of the complexity of dealing with headaches coming from muscles but mediated thru the trigeminal nerve and trigeminovascular system resulting in biochemical changes in the brain. While many physicians and some dentists seek to treat this pain with enormous amounts of medications it is possible to change the neural input and and positively effect the CNS (central nervous system) Chemical inbalnces in the brain can be triggered by peripheral nervous system input. A point that was emphasized by the second speaker Dr Jay Shah of the NIHwhose lecture "NEW FRONTIERS IN THE PATHOSPHYSIOLGY OF MUSCULOSKELETAL PAIN : ENTER THE MATRIX" was truly extraordinary in explaining the biochemical changes that occurs in and around trigger points.

Even more exciting is the use of ultrasound imaging and especially vibrational sonoelastography to measure the stiffness around myofascial trigger points and to show the effects on blood flow in the immediate vicinity of trigger points. He also showed that the same biological and chemical changes occur around both latent and active trigger points. These peripheral changes create central nrvous sytem biochemical changes via afferent nerves. He discussed how pain can be due to noxious stimulus or loss of "DESCENDING INHIBITION OF PAIN" AND HOW INHIBITORY NERVE APOPTOSIS CAN CREATE PERMANENT PAIN STATES. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE IN ADDRESSING NEUROMUSCULAR PAIN! Dr Shaw is a senior staff physiatrist in the rehabilitation medicine dept. After hearing him speak about the treatment of pain and basic research into underlying causes I believe at least some of our tax dollars are truly being used wisely.

His croup does micrassay of the chemicals around myofascial trigger points and they are now using miniscule accupunture needles which have two chanels prepared with lasers to collect chemical assays painlessly with minimal disruption to the tissues. The work he describes should make all patients with myofascial pain and /or fibromyalgia hopeful for better lives with pain controlled. These studies put the rest the idea that TMJ disorders are psychosocial or physical. There is no longer any doubt about the medical nature of these muscle disorders.

Patients with chronic headaches and migraines will surely benefit as this type of research flourishes. This research is also proving the validity of many basic precepts of neuromuscular dentistry. Correction of periheral problems that sey off muscle nociceptors and endogenous biochemicals cause amplification and perpetuation of peripheral and central sensitization that lead to persistent pain.

DR GREMILLION ALSO DISCUSSED VARIOUS ETIOLOGICAL HYPOTHESIS OF CHRONIC MUSCLE PAIN THAT ALL CORRELATED WITH NEUROMUSCULAR DENTISTRY TREATMENT. The central hypothesis dealth with first order to second order neuron ratios, the repetitve strain hypothesis is exactly what neuromuscular dentistry treats with microtrauma leading to macro problems. The peripheral sensitization hypothesis explains how microtrauma can cause central sensitization and the central biasing Mechanism hypothesis explains the equilibrium shifts as facilitation and inhibition ratios shift. He also discussed Sympathetic Dysregulation that can lead to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or Complex Regional Pain Syndromes (CRPS)

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posted by Dr Shapira at 1:50 PM

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