In the article, #1 Reason To Thank Our Teeth, we saw how our teeth actually balance our skull and in turn balance our body. Acute vs Chronic headaches. Acute situations like trauma, head/neck injuries can temporarily throw off the whole balancing communication system. Physical therapy, Yoga, Tai Chi and meditation can all aide to help restore the whole body balance quickly. The long-term head-neck pain, however occurs when the self-balancing communication system gets broken off. This can happen due to everyday chronic issues generated within our mouth or within head-neck area. A chiropractor can resolve the misalignment in head-neck joint area. Tempero-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) specializing dentist can fix the misalignment in the TMJ. In some cases, the problem is in both joints and hence a multi-specialty + dentist-chiropractor combination treatment maybe needed. What causes chronic pain in head-neck region? Excessive clenching and grinding of teeth, over-attrided flattened teeth, abnormal chewing habits etc., all lead to excess wear and tear of the teeth. A simple example to understand this is by observing a car with a bad wheel alignment. Observe how it always tries to self-level itself by wearing down the car tires, even though the problem is in the wheels and not in tires! Similarly the continuous body alignment system inbuilt between TMJ and Head-neck joint, wear down teeth that are out of alignment even though the problem maybe in the joint space. What is the good and bad news? Inbuilt within this teeth wear is immediate good news but a long-term bad news. The continuous teeth wear gives you minimal headaches…..for now, but eventually flattened worn out teeth begin to collapse the bite vertically. The reduced inner mouth height, in turn begins to squish the temporo-mandibular joint more and more into its socket. The space within the TMJ socket continues to reduce thus pushing bones surrounding inner ear out of alignment. Ultimately, the TMJ, temporal bone and inner ear misalignment throws the head-neck out of balance. Some patients can then experience worsening headaches, earaches, backaches, unexplained fatigue and in some cases vertigo! Patient-Doctor-Dentist-Physical therapist collaboration. If 90% of headaches are tension headaches, 90% of those problems happen in women and if 90% of women suffer from TMJ disorder problems then it is time to connect the dots. It is important to start looking at solving “Specific headaches” by balancing the jaw, head and neck first rather than simply giving pain medications and masking the problem. The key to solving any problem is never in treating the symptom but by eliminating the origin of the problem. Patients who have lost their vertical jaw height due to continuous teeth wear, TMJ arthritis, trauma, myofascial neuralgia or muscular atrophy still have the body balancing communication system still in place. The body, however, is fighting a downhill battle if the problem of joint space is not restored. When patients, dentists, doctors and physical therapist together create a comprehensive treatment solution plan, then TMJD can be resolved pretty quickly thus making the patient headache/pain free quickly. Plan first and then execute the plan after due diligence Patients need to make holistic decisions but need to begin by first locating the exact origin of pain. Do not be afraid to take the right “comprehensive” action by consulting directly with multiple specialties. Do not be afraid to do your due diligence and actually go interview your team of specialists who will plan to get you pain-free. Alternatively, you can also begin by finding a TMJD specialist dentist who has the right network of specialists. Find a conservative dentist who can coordinate a “Full TMJD treatment plan” first rather that jump-starting you into extensive dental-only treatment. Failure for specialists, chiropractors, dentists to coordinate could actually lead to worsen the TMJD problem. Hence as a patient before jumping into doing the first thing that shows up as solution to get yourself rid of pain and headaches, breathe, plan and then execute your action plan. The solution to becoming head-ache free and pain free do exist with the mouth as well as TMJ space. The key for successful pain-free outcome is going to need 3Ps – Proper Prior Planning. Until then Live, Love and Smile that you are alive! Sleep peacefully knowing that we all have divinely intelligent structures already in place within our body to keep you head-ache and pain-FREE!