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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sleep and Headaches linked in article in Current Treatment Options in Neurology

An article by Jeanetta C. Rains1 and J. Steven Poceta gives an opinion paper on the relation of sleep to headache. They feel that headache is linked to a wide variety of sleep disorders that may impact treatment results and headache management.

They believe that after standard diagnosis of headache a sleep history should be collected according to headache problems. Initally they state that you should rule out sleep apnea in patients with headaches on awakening. I agree and have frequently said that the two main causes of morning headaches are TMJ disorders, Sleep Apnea and Bruxing. The NHLBI of the NIH published a report "Cardiovascular and Sleep Related Consequences of Temoporomandibular Disorders" Morning headaches can also be caused by jaw clenching but newer evidence relates clenching to awakenings by sleep disordered breathing.

They believe that cluster headaches, chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headache should have sleep apnea ruled out as a cause. I believe that looking at the neuromuscular system to evaluate patients for TMJ disorders, muscle disorders and trigeminal nervous disorders related to the bite is also essential. Neuromuscular Dentistry is a method that has been shown to be "overwhelmingly successful according to Dr Barry Cooper and as published in Cranio Journal.

If there are signs and symptoms of sleep apnea they Rx polysomnography and treatment with CPAP. While CPAP is effective I feel patients with headaches and sleep apnea would be much better served by combining treatments by utilizing an intra-oral apnea appliance that will also help decrease headaches of trigeminal orgin, or almost all types of headaches. Studies with oral appliances for headache treatment show a minimal 50% improvement in the majority of patients. They do not advocate suspending regular headache treatment when treating apnea but many of the patients treated with oral appliances report complete relief of headaches. CPAP can also be effective but 60% of patients reject it and it causes negative side effects in a significant number of patients who use it leading to discontinuation of CPAP and/or poor compliance.

The authors stated that use of oral appliance, surgery and weight loss are untested displaying a suprising amout of ignorance about the current parameters of care for treating sleep apnea that considers oral appliances to be a first line of treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea and an alternative for severe apnea when CPAP is not tolerated. The percentage of patients that do not tolerate CPAP is the same for mild, moderate and severe sleep apnea patients.

The authors reported "patients with migraine and tension-type headache, insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, reported by one half to two thirds of clinic patients." They did not specify it is was sleep onset insomnia or maintenance of sleep insomnia.

The authors also stated "All headache patients, particularly those with episodic migraine and tension-type headaches, may benefit from inclusion of sleep variables in trigger management."

I believe it in incumbent on physicians and dentists treating headaches be acutely aware of the effect of sleep disorders on headache.

They should also be aware that psychiatric disorders and depression frequently occur in chronic pain patients as a direct result of the chronic pain.

Treatment of sleep disorders and headache with a combination of a neuromuscular daytime orthotic and a n intraoral sleep apnea appliance or use of a 24 hour orthotic is "overwhelming successful" as published in Cranio Journal.

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posted by Dr Shapira at 5:31 AM

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