Since many of you have been asking about my headaches, I thought I'd just write a blog and direct people here...
History: I started getting migraines in 2003, after I returned home from Hawaii, so I've been dealing with them for nine years now. They have morphed into daily chronic headaches, with a really bad migraine occurring about every two months. I have been asked by many if they are hormone related (because they did improve during my pregnancies with Joel and Gabe, although not Zoe), but because they occur so often, it's been difficult to figure out any triggers, including hormone balances.
Doctors: I have literally sought help from any medical professional I thought would help. I've seen two neurologists, and have had several MRIs. I've seen an ENT to see if it was related to my deviated septum or my sinuses, and have undergone allergy testing with a specialist. I spent months with a chiropractor, and visited an acupuncture MD who didn't think the treatments would help at all. A few months ago I saw a spine/pain specialist who told me my spine was straight and not curved like it should be, and that I had developed arthritis in my upper spine. I went through the pain of trigger point injections in his office, and because my headache disappeared, we agreed a spinal injection would be beneficial. After that procedure, my headaches improved 50 percent, resulting in pain every other day, instead of everyday. My doctor said the procedure was successful if I had a 30 percent improvement, but my insurance didn't cover it all so we decided it was too expensive, and too invasive, for such little improvement.
Now: My latest theory is that my headaches may be related to my TMJ. I was given braces, like most kids in middle school, because my bite wasn't perfect and because I had TMJ. But, it recently occurred to me that I must still have TMJ because I grind my teeth at night as well as anytime I'm stressed during my waking hours. I did a little research and realized that most cases of TMJ go undiagnosed and are often misdiagnosed as migraines because the pain starts in your face muscles/jaw and go down the neck, causing chronic pain. Hello!! This might be the ticket! So, I met with my dentist yesterday and she seemed astonished at how bad my TMJ actually was, informing me that my jaw clicks both when I open and close my mouth, and that in certain severe cases, your bite will actually shift depending on whether your mouth is open or closed - like mine. So, I was fit for a mouth guard I will wear at night. She explained that the muscles in your face that are affected are very strong and that she could tell by looking at me that I clench these muscles often, as they were more prominent on my face compared to others. Then she assured me that I was beautiful, but that it was obvious to her because she looks at faces all day. Thanks.
Please, please, please pray that I have finally found my solution. I pick up my oh-so-attractive mouth guard tomorrow and she said I will have a period of about two weeks that may be tough. I've been instructed to go to sleep with a heating pad and warm compresses on both sides of my face, and to avoid chewy foods. I will keep you all updated!! :)