This month when an expert panel of doctors in California met to consider the evidence effectiveness of new migraine treatments, Dr. Robert Cowan, director of Stanford University’s Headache Clinic expressed his frustration at the state of the art in headache care: “Headache care is 50 years behind things like diabetes and cancer.” The problem, in his mind, is that we just don’t understand what causes migraines and therefore treatments are not as effective as they should be.
Three Treatments with Limited Effectiveness
The panel was meeting to consider whether three newly approved migraine treatments actually had enough evidence to justify their use (and coverage by insurance companies):
Botox, the botulinum toxin famous in its cosmetic guise as the wrinkle-reducer BOTOX ® Cosmetic, impressed the panel with its proven, albeit limited, effectiveness. Although it doesn’t work on everyone, for some people the drug gives good relief. The other two treatments, which were drug-free alternatives, were not considered as impressive.
Cefaly, a battery-powered TENS unit that people wear like a tiara, but the panel was not convinced that the evidence really supported its ability to prevent migraines.
SpringTMS is another treatment device that can be used to deliver an electromagnetic pulse to the back of the head that is supposed to disrupt the electrical activity associated with migraines. In studies, they said, there was no difference between the actual device and a sham device for many important indicators of migraine severity.
Alternative Treatment Need Is Urgent
It’s a shame that the new treatment alternatives proved so ineffective because there really is a need for more effective migraine treatment. The panel noted that every year about 20,000 people in California actually develop chronic migraines from taking opioid medication for their severe but less frequent migraines.
Fortunately, for many people, TMJ treatment can be that drug-free alternative. TMJ treatment doesn’t work for everyone, but for many migraine sufferers, TMJ treatment can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
If you want to learn whether TMJ treatment can help your migraines, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at the TMJ Therapy and Sleep Center of Colorado.