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It’s human nature to want to take the shortest route to ending debilitating pain, and that’s part of why the pharmaceutical industry makes its hundreds of billions of dollars each year, says Dr. Fred Abeles.
“Just like we’re all tempted to reach for that sweet, salty or fatty snack when we’re hungry, many of us want to treat our chronic headaches with a quick fix by popping a pill,” says Dr. Abeles, author of the book “Break Away: The New Method for Treating Chronic Headaches, Migraines and TMJ Without Medication”.
“While it’s understandable, pills are often another example of the easy path being a temporary one. Just like a candy bar ensures hunger will come raging back sooner than later, so too does pain medication tend to guarantee a future date with pain.”
Many headache sufferers may be under the mistaken impression that their headache is the result of nerves, but that’s wrong in most cases, he says. Most pain originates in muscle and connective tissues, he says.
Dr. Abeles reviews ways to best navigate the problem of painful and persistent headaches.
• Priority No. 1: avoid misdiagnosis. Doctors are experts who spend many years in college, training and helping others. Patients figure that surely they know best. But that’s not 100 percent true. A real estate agent can’t make you happy without your input. A financial advisor cannot meet your goals unless you communicate your goals and money situation effectively. The same is true for doctors, who are busy in today’s healthcare system and may be misled by patients, who tend to be flustered and potentially vague about their symptoms. In other words, patients need to be their own top advocate for their own health, and that means doing one’s due diligence in paying close attention to symptoms, communicating effectively to healthcare providers and considering multiple causes. A simple pain-relieving prescription is often not a lasting solution.
• Don’t just treat your symptoms; get to the root cause. As mentioned, pain-relief drugs are like candy bars for hunger – they only kick the problem down the road temporarily. The real culprit for chronic headaches usually includes inflammation, muscles of the head and neck, forward head posture, cervical alignment and its effect on the cranial nerves and vertebral artery.
And, for millions of sufferers, the cause of headaches is a misaligned bite. This includes the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. This is located at the front of the ear where the temporal bone meets the lower jaw on the side of the head.
• Your answer may be found in a painless, non-pharmaceutical treatment. Headaches have a variety of causes, from lifestyle choices to chemical activity to a combination of reasons. Millions overlook the symptoms of TMJ, which include a clicking or popping jaw, a bite that feels off, snoring, pain in the jaw/jowl areas and a forward head posture. If you have any of these symptoms, there is a silver lining to your problem, because there are multiple options that are free of pain and do not require altering your body chemistry with pharmaceutical drugs. A few bite adjustments, for example, can dramatically improve the alignment of your lower jaw, resulting in happy, calm muscles that don’t create pain. Physical therapy may include one or more of the following: ultra-sound, cold laser, NuCalm, trigger point muscle relaxation, Cefaly and more.
About Dr. Fred Abeles - Dr. Fred Abeles is known as one of the most sought after TMJ experts in the United States (www.FredAbeles.com). He’s famous for getting results where all other have failed and getting those results without the use of surgery, needles or drugs. He is author of the new book “Break Away: The New Method for Treating Chronic Headaches, Migraines and TMJ Without Medication.” Dr. Abeles is the Clinical Instructor and Regional Director for the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies – one of the most prestigious post-graduate teaching centers in the world today. Dr. Abeles has been featured on NBC and CBS, consults with leading dental manufacturers on the development of new dental products, been on the cover of the profession’s biggest magazines and instructed dentists throughout the United States and Canada on state-of-the-art techniques for treating headaches and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.