Highgate Dental Practice
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Migraines

A migraine is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or on one side of the head. Some people also have other symptoms, such as nausea and sensitivity to light.

Migraine is a common health condition, affecting about 15% of adults in the UK. There are several types of migraine, including: Migraine with aura is when there is a warning sign, known as aura, before the migraine begins.

About a third of people with migraine have this. Warning signs may include visual problems (such as flashing lights) and stiffness in the neck, shoulders or limbs. Migraine without aura or Migraine without headache, also known as silent migraine, is when an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache does not develop.

Symptoms of aura

About one third of people with migraines have warning symptoms, known as aura, before the migraine. These include:

  • visual problems – you may see flashing lights
  • zigzag patterns or blind spots
  • stiffness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles in your neck, shoulders or limbs.
  • problems with co-ordination – you may feel disoriented or off balance
  • difficulty speaking

Aura symptoms typically start between 15 minutes and one hour before the headache begins. Some people may experience aura with only a mild headache or no headache at all.

Diagnosis

We may ask if your headaches are:

  • On one side of the head
  • A pulsating pain
  • Moderate or severe
  • Preventing you carrying out daily activities
  • Made worse by physical activity or moving about
  • Accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting
  • Accompanied by sensitivity to light (Photophobia) and/or noise (Phonophobia)

To help with the diagnosis, it can be useful to keep a diary of your migraine attacks. Note down details, including the date, time and what you were doing when the migraine began. It is also helpful to make a note of the food you ate that day as this can help us identify any potential triggers.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for migraines. However, a number of treatments can be used to ease the symptoms. It may take time to work out which is the best treatment for you. You may need to try different types or combinations of medicines before you find the most effective ones.

Many people who have migraines find that over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and aspirin, can help to reduce their symptoms. Painkillers are usually the first treatment for migraine. They tend to be more effective if taken at the first signs of a migraine attack. This gives them time to absorb into your bloodstream and ease your symptoms. Some people only take painkillers when their headache becomes very bad. However, this is not advisable because it is often too late for the painkiller to work. Soluble painkillers (tablets that dissolve in a glass of water) are a good option because they are absorbed quickly by your body. If you find that you cannot manage your migraines using over-the-counter medicines, then maybe we can help. If your migraines are related to eating certain foods we will refer you to our Nutritional Therapist Vicki Lee for and assessment and dietary advice.

Migraines are often associated with bruxism (Clenching and grinding of the teeth) and muscular tension. Here at The Highgate Dental Practice we have developed a highly successful treatment protocol to deal with TMJ/muscle tension related migraines.

Questions we would normally ask:

  • Do you clench/grind your teeth?
  • Do you wake up with a headache or tightness in your jaw or along the side of the face?
  • Do you suffer from a tight neck or do you suffer from neck, back shoulder tension?
  • Do you work in front of a computer or at a desk?
  • Does your jaw click?

If we conclude that we can help you we would encourage you to develop relaxation techniques and becomes “aware” of muscle tension.

Treatment we would provide:

  • Hard Upper Michigan Night Guard this appliance reduces muscle tension. Usually very successful and many patients do not need further treatment.
  • If we diagnose that your migraines are linked to your diet we will refer you to our Nutritional Therapist Vicki Lee (www.NutritionalTherapyWorks.com) for further diagnosis and treatment.
  • Alternatively your migraines could be linked to poor posture and weakened core which could contribute to muscle tension induced migraines in this case we would refer you to our postural Exercise Therapist Craig Lambert (www.LambertPerformance.com) for further diagnosis and treatment.
  • Botox: Dr Hagen has developed a very successful migraine treatment protocol using Botox (Allergan). He treats specific muscle groups to reduce muscle tension in the head and neck and neck with an excellent success rate. Muscle groups: Masseter (Cheek), Frontalis (Forehead) and Occipitalis muascle groups (Back of the head)
  • He works closely with the Allergan medical division please see attached research article related to the treatment of muscle tension with Botox or get more information on www.Allergan.co.uk

    Download more information on Botox treatment for Migraines and TMJ issues

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  • Monday 9:00 – 7:30pm
  • Tuesday 9:00 – 5:30pm
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  • Thursday 9:00 – 7:30pm
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  • Saturday 8:30 – 1:00pm
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