Labeled by the New York Times as the “deadliest drug crisis in American history,” opioid-fueled overdoses are killing tens of thousands of people every year, most of them under 50 years old. That’s more than the HIV epidemic at its peak, and more than are killed in car accidents annually. This epidemic has been a hot-button topic in politics lately, and for the millions of Americans who take prescription drugs regularly, it’s been raising some questions about the best ways to treat acute and chronic pain.
Migraine Drugs Are Risky
Opiates are commonly prescribed as a treatment for migraines — in fact, many believe they are over-prescribed. One study found that nearly half of teens who are newly diagnosed with migraines are given prescriptions for opiates. This is particularly troubling with the knowledge that clinical trials have shown that opioids aren’t an effective treatment for migraines, and can even turn episodic migraines into chronic ones.
It isn’t just opioids that are often poor choices when it comes to combating migraines: Even migraine prevention drugs come with long lists of serious, sometimes permanent side effects. Of course, all of this gets cast in a new light when you consider that placebos have proven to be just as good as actual migraine treatment drugs… and have fewer side effects.
Overall, the only real conclusion that can be drawn from the data is that scientists simply don’t understand migraines well enough to effectively treat them. Plus, the current attempts at treatment are not just ineffective; they’re actually dangerous. So where does that leave migraine sufferers?
Drug-Free Migraine Treatments Exist
All of these problems combined have led to many migraine sufferers seeking drug-free treatments for their symptoms. For those whose migraines are a side effect of TMJ, there’s good news: TMJ treatment can be an effective, drug-free migraine prevention treatment.
TMJ might not seem like it’s connected to migraines, but many people who suffer from TMJ experience migraines as a symptom. The tension in the temporomandibular joint that causes symptoms like popping and clicking sounds, jaw pain, and bruxism can also create tension throughout the whole head — enough to trigger a migraine.
Luckily, if your migraines are tied to TMJ, TMJ treatment has been shown to positively impact both frequency and severity of migraines and other types of headaches. An experienced TMJ dentist like Dr. Paul Hahn or Dr. Adam Hahn can treat your TMJ without drugs and without surgery. Instead, they will evaluate your bite, locate the source of the tension, and use a combination of non-invasive treatments such as TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy or a bite splint.