Craniofacial Pain Disorders
Dentists deeply involved with neuromuscular analysis share a particular perspective of dental function that is not fully understood by many health care professionals. The neuromuscular dentist understands the unique relationships of physics, biomechanics, circulatory systems, musculature, central and autonomic nervous systems, blood flow, pharmaceuticals and a myriad of other variables in a unique fashion.
Neuromuscular Diagnosticians – Too Few
Unfortunately, this professional group has relatively few members, in contrast to those professional groups that are traditionally associated with the diagnosis and treatment of craniofacial pain, migraine headaches, TMJ dysfunction, Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD), head and neck pain, jaw disorders including popping, clicking and locking (trismus).
The list of associated disorders is seemingly endless. Ear pain, jaw joint pain, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), blurred vision, sinus pain and even back pain come into play.
Diagnosis defines the Treatment
With the onset of pain symptoms it is fairly common for people to seek “sensible” pain relief. Generally speaking, if your back hurts, you see a health care professional involved with treatment of the back (chiropractor, physical therapist, MD, DO, surgeon, etc). If a persistent ear ache is the problem… we consult with an ENT specialist. If migraine headaches get out of hand, behavioral psychologists, MD’s and DO’s would probably be foremost to consult with.
Each of the aforementioned health care professionals will tend to diagnose the presenting problem based on a “model” or “mindset” of how to perceive the symptoms, determine etiology and eventually develop a plan for treatment.
No surprise that a chiropractor will be predisposed to suggest spinal adjustments. A physical therapist will probably recommend a plan of muscle relaxation and focused exercise programs that eventuates in harmonious functioning of a particular segment of our musculo-skeletal system. The MD and DO may prescribe physical therapy and/or a medication regimen to address the pain symptoms.
Traditional Craniofacial TMJ/TMD Treatments – Do They Work?
Yes and No … For many people, traditional treatments for different types of and varying degrees of craniofacial pain are successful. For many people, traditional treatments are either not successful or are not enough for what they are experiencing.
Craniofacial Pain Treatment Statistics
Volumes are written on the subject. This website however is focused on a certain statistic. Specifically the statistic of “1”… that individual who is seeking effective pain treatment when all other treatments for craniofacial, TMJ/TMD and otherwise neuromuscular based pain have been used without success.
Several organizations and Post Graduate training programs exist, each providing doctors different types of medical models and etiology paradigms from which treatments and therapies are administered. Some of these more notable organizations incude:
- Las Vegas Institute (LVI)
- American Academy of Craniofacial Pain
- American Academy for Functional Orthodontics
- International College of Craniomandibular Orthopedics