Dr. Shapira's Chicago Headache Blog

Neuromuscular Dentist in Chicago, IL Accepting Patients Nationwide & Worldwide

Thyroid problems,sleep disorders, headache and Neuromuscular Dentistry

February 23, 2018
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Patients with thyroid problems frequently also have headaches, TMJ disorders and sleep disorders. The treatment of pain disorders frequently is aided by normalization of thyroid hormone. Free T3 is the activ e form of thyroid hormone and appears to be the most important thyroid hormone when dealing with chronic pain problems.

In the midwest theree is low naturally occuring iodine in the water. Patients with low thyroid and high TSH can frequently be helped by nutritional supplements containing iodine. 1 of drop of iodine in 8 oz of water every other day may be enough iodine to allow the thyroid to function normally. Many years age the Panda bears in Washington DC were unable to… Read Full Post

Oral Appliances for treating Parkinson's and other movement disorders

December 28, 2017
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The utilization of using Neuromuscular orthotics to treat or eliminate migraines, tension-type headaches and chronic sinus and facial pain is well established. The correction of postural distortion is also well documentd however the treatment of movement disorders has been primarily anectdotal.

That is beginning to change, the correction of oral and pharyngeal reflexes combined into neuromuscular orthotics allows treatment of more complex disorders.

The OSB, or Oral Systemic Balance appliances promoted by Dr Farand Robson are focused into these reflexes. The work of Brendan C Stack DDS MS, Dr John Beck MD and others in treating Parkinsons is exciting new work. The Academy… Read Full Post

TRIGEMINAL AUTONOMIC CEPHALGIAS, Chronic Headaches Related To Trigeminal Nerve Respond well to Neuromuscular Dentistry & Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block

December 03, 2017
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The Trigeminal Nerve is often called the Dentist's Nerve because it goes to the teeth, jaw muscles, jaw joints (TMJ),and periodontal ligament. Trigeminal innervation of the sinuses, eustacian tubes, tensor of the ear drum (tensor tympani), soft palate, tongue and meninges of the brain explain why there are so many disorders associated with jaw function, TMJ and TMD.

There are a special group of disorders called the Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalgias (See National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke web information below). Sphenopalatine Ganglion Blocks are an autonomic block that can be used to treat many types of migraine, Tension-tyoe headaches and chronic daily… Read Full Post

Facial Pain, Normal Sinus CT scans, Headache, Migraine and TMD

November 07, 2017
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An older study in the Laryngescope is on 104 patients with facial pain who had normal CT scans. Twenty nine of the patients had previous unsuccessful sinus surgery. The patients were approximately 80% women, TMJ disorders are usually (80%) found in female patients.

The study showed " Four percent of patients seen by a neurologist had an unsuspected serious intracranial diagnosis." It is essential that organic neurologic causes are ruled out but the 100 remaining patients had headaches of undetermined causes. Facial pain and sinus pain are a alert for MPD (myofascial pain) and TMD (temporomandibular pain). Treatment of patients with chronic headaches, migraines sinus and/or facial… Read Full Post

Headaches and TMJ Disorders are related to whole body health.

September 24, 2017
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A new article in Practical Pain Management "Head and Neck: Kinetic Chain from the Toes Influences the Craniofacial Region " discusses the kinetic chain and how what happens in the body effects the craniofacial region and how jaw problems, bite stability and joint stability influences the entire body as well. These postural changes are a major cause of Tension-type headaches, neck pain and other types of myalgias.

The field of Posturology is how our posture affects the entire body. Posture includes how we stand, sit, lay down, sleep, work out and more. If we overwork muscles we can cause repetitive strain injuries that lead to myofascial pain and dysfunction.

There are… Read Full Post

Frontal and Occipital Headaches with Facial Numbness

July 15, 2017
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From Vicki:

I have right sided pain in the occipital region and frontal area. Continuous pulsation with buzzing in my ear. I am Nauseated, and have right sided facial numbness and tingling.

Dr Shapira response:

I always suggest patients with numbness in the face have a neurological work-up and patients with ear problems be evaluated by an ENT. Having said that I frequently see patients with symptoms similar to your who are very successfully treated by their diagnostic neuromuscular orthotic without drugs.

The occipital pain is usually referred from neck muscle trigger points, especially from the SCM, Trapezius,
Levator Scapulae,,splenius capitus and… Read Full Post


June 13, 2017
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A recent article in HEADACHE (June 2011)"Migraine and Vestibular Symptoms-Identifying Clinical Features That Predict "Vestibular Migraine" looks at patients who have an overlap of vestibular symptoms, such as lightheadedness, unsteadiness, vertigo, balance disturbance and headache.

The study showed just under half of the patients had onset of pain and vestibular symptoms together. This is frequently seen in patients withcraniomandibular neuromuscular disorders and usually responds extremely well to a neuromuscular orthotic, use of ULF TENS, Trigger point injections, spray and stretch elimination of TP's and SPG (Sphenopalatine Ganglion) Blocks.


New Developments in Migraine Treatment and how they relate to Neuromuscular Dentistry and Posturology

May 11, 2017
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A recent article in Current Opinions in Neurology reviewed Migraine treatments. While it mentioned the use of medications such as Botox (onabotulinum toxin type A), triptans , Topiramate, gabapentin, petasites and tizanidine and a new nasal form of dihydroergotamine it also discussed risk factors associated with Temporo-mandibular (TMJ, TMD) disorders, sleep apnea and treatments like occipital nerve stimulators.

These are important aspects of Neuromuscular Dentistry which utilizes ultra-low frequency TENS to stimulate the Cranial Nerves V, VII and XI. This would create effects on occipital nerves as well. The use of Botox on cranial muscles shows that they are responsible for… Read Full Post

Retro-orbital pain and TMD (TMJ) explained anatomically in this article.

April 04, 2017
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A mechanism for retro-orbital pain and TMD is presented in this anatomical dissection of the the temporal branch of the zygomatic nerve passing through an accessory canal in the sphenozygomatic suture. This anatomical placement of the nerve would allow temporal muscle tension to cause nerve irritation and retro-orbital pain. Utilization of a diagnostic neuromuscular orthotic could differentiate retro-orbital pain that is best treated by neuromuscular dentistry.

Surg Radiol Anat. 2002 May;24(2):113-6. Nervous branch passing through an accessory canal in the sphenozygomatic suture: the temporal branch of the zygomatic nerve. Akita K, Shimokawa T, Tsunoda A, Sato T.

Unit of… Read Full Post

Headaches related to rectus capitis posterior minor muscle and its atlanto-occipital membranes

March 27, 2017
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A recent post of mine discussed the relationship between osteopathic (chiropractic) manipulation and TMD. That study showed that similar results were obtained with both types of treatment. A major consideration in treating headaches is the position of the head and neck. Neuromuscular dentistry tends to encourage healing or correction of abnormal head posture. This can have an enormous effect of the jaw muscles and jaw joints but also on the Atla-occipital joint and the Atlas-axis joint and surrounding tissues. These tissues (such as rectus capitus posterior minor) can create tension on the dura mater of the brain that can cause not just migraines, tension-type headaches, chronic daily… Read Full Post