Migraines are not just a very common condition, they are a condition that comes with many variations. Some of these variations are particularly disabling and/or hard to treat.
One of these hard-to-treat subtypes is vestibular migraine. In this type of migraine, you experience dizziness along with your headache, which can make it even more disabling than standard migraines. These migraines don’t currently have good treatment options, but some developing treatments hold promise. However, looking at these treatments makes us think that vestibular migraine might respond very well to TMJ treatment. If you suffer from vestibular migraines and haven’t yet tried TMJ treatment, don’t wait on new treatments–you may be able to get relief now.
What Is Vestibular Migraine?
Vestibular migraine is when you experience vertigo and dizziness related to migraine attacks. In addition to the nausea and vomiting that commonly go with migraines, you experience long-lasting dizziness, a sense of instability, and difficulty keeping your balance.
Not all vertigo attacks will be accompanied by headaches. Sometimes, you will get a vertigo attack and you either experience no other symptoms or you have what is called a “silent” migraine. Doctors also call this condition by other names, such as migraine-related vertigo or migraine-associated vestibulopathy.
We aren’t sure what causes the association, which limits the ability to develop new treatment options. In the past, many believed the primary culprit to be in the brain. Now, though, recent treatment techniques seem to cast suspicion on more peripheral nerves.
Nerve Treatments Seem to Help
Whether or not the brain plays an important role in developing vestibular migraine, two new treatments focus on peripheral nerves.
In one treatment, stimulation of the trigeminal nerve seemed to work as an acute intervention to help stop symptoms in progress. Stimulating the trigeminal nerve reduced patients’ vertigo symptoms more than 60%, from an average severity of 6.6 to an average severity of 2.7. While not all of the patients experienced headache during their attacks, those that did saw a 77% reduction in pain following treatment.
Another treatment being developed is vagus nerve stimulation. This technique reduced vertigo severity by 47%.
Both of these treatments are in the early investigative stages, but they point to the role that nerve inputs could play in triggering or influencing vertigo attacks.
TMJ Treatment Can Help Control Nerve Input
What’s exciting about these studies is that they show how treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) could provide relief from vestibular migraines, or prevent these attacks altogether. When treating TMJ, one goal is to balance the muscles and joints of the jaw. Since the trigeminal nerve is the primary nerve that controls the jaw muscles, balancing the forces in the jaw can have a dramatic impact on the stimulus from this nerve. Properly positioning the jaw could reduce the risk of developing vestibular migraine attacks and potentially stop them once they start.
If you want to learn whether this type of treatment could help your vestibular migraines in Denver, please call (303) 691-0267 today for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.