Case Study #107
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Dental/Menstrual Migraines Connection
When a patient presents with headaches as their chief complaint, they pose a major challenge to the treating practitioner. There are more than 150 different types of headaches. Different headaches have their own set of symptoms, happen for unique reasons, and need different treatment. The key to unraveling the headache mystery is defining the underlying cause(s).
Heather K. was referred to my office because she had severe migraine headaches. Her migraine headache was triggered off by her menstrual cycle. Typically Heather would endure severe pain for three days followed by severe fatigue for two weeks. Literally every month Heather was wasted for two weeks.
Typically headaches are caused by illness, stress, and environmental factors. Illness: such as an infection, flu, or fever. They are also common with conditions like sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), a throat infection, abscessed tooth or an ear infection. In some cases, the headaches may be the result of a concussion or a tumor. Stress: Emotional, chemical, and structural stressors are three factors that distress the adrenal and thyroid glands. Emotional issues along with chemical imbalances, use of alcohol, low blood sugar, sleep disorders, and taking too much medication can also cause headaches. Other stressors include eyestrain and neck or back strain due to subluxations (misalignment of vertebrae in the spine) of the spine, pelvis and sacrum.
Environmental Factors including secondhand tobacco smoke, strong smells from household chemicals or perfumes, allergens, and certain foods (chocolate, dairy, wines specially those high in tyramine), heavy metals, EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies), too much use of cell phones, artificial sweeteners like Aspartame all have the potential of triggering headaches. Stress, pollution, noise, lighting, and weather changes are other possible triggers.
Heather presented a medical history of a chronically infected tooth of two years duration. Also of importance she stated that her menstrual cycle would trigger off her migraines. Diagnostically Heather had an abscessed tooth whose toxins and pathogens were being trapped by her thyroid, which is part of the immune system. Such stressors can create a hypothyroid condition, which also has the potential of elevating the estrogen levels and triggering migraine headaches. In addition, Heather had mercury toxicity, chemical issues, and infections issues.
Treatment focused on removing the infected tooth, placement of ozone into the extraction site to disinfect the bone, and nutrients to detox the chemicals, and support her thyroid function. Within three months Heather had a dramatic reduction in her migraines. Presently Heather only gets a migraine that lasts for one day and does not experience any lethargy.
The dental component is a key part of many medical illnesses. Unfortunately not many health care practitioners have the diagnostic skills to connect the dots and resolve long standing patient complaints.
Dr. Gerald Smith