Sunday, 1 June 2014

Day 1990 - Chiropractic

"According to the General Chiropractic Council, chiropractic is "a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health". 

Chiropractors (practitioners of chiropractic) use their hands to treat disorders of the bones, muscles and joints. Treatments that involve use of the hands in this way are called "manual therapies". 

Chiropractors use a range of techniques, with an emphasis on manipulation of the spine. They may also offer advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle, and rehabilitation programmes that involve exercises to do in your own time. Some chiropractors may also offer other treatments, such as acupuncture. 

Chiropractic is part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This means that chiropractic is different in important ways from treatments that are part of conventional western medicine. 

Some uses of chiropractic treatments are based on ideas and an evidence base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists."* 

I wore a splint for over three months – sadly with no results. I am so tired of this! The pain didn’t get any better while wearing it, but the headache was always at a stable 2/10, which I cannot complain about. The dentist suggested seeing a colleague chiropractor. I have been seeing him now for a few weeks, although with no concrete results.

The chiropractor gave me various exercises to carry out at home, which I did religiously. During our sessions, which last a fleeting 15 minutes, he has carried out various neck exercises. My neck is certainly more flexible, which the chiropractor seems pleased with, although it hasn’t made any difference to my headache, which needless to say hasn’t pleased me too much.

I now have another two sessions left. I don’t want to be pessimistic, but given that it has made absolutely no difference to my head pain, I am not expecting any miracle cures over the next week.

In the last few weeks, however, just as I was about to take out the splint, the headache got substantially worse – to about a 6/10 last week which had not happened in a long time. One really forgets about how bad it can be. I thought my head was about to burst. I could feel the blood trying to push through my veins and pump away all over the right hand side of my head, thumping away. When my headache is bad, I can move my head about and feel the pain reverberating elsewhere in my head – like a loose tool in a box, it’s as if the pain were jumping about, digging into my skull.

Today it seems to have calmed down, at about a 3/10. Why? I just wish I knew.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Day 1879 - TMJ Attempt 3

I would like to apologise to the readers of this blog for my silence over the last few months. Since starting this blog, I told myself that I would not whinge and whine about my headache; rather, I would try and post about possible cures found.

Since my last post a few months ago there has been a change in the headache. It’s still very much there - but shifting, which has never happened since it started over five years ago (another anniversary passed - a fact I have tried to ignore and once again push away). Over the last few months it seems that the headache has popped up in other places along the right side of my head. It’s always in the middle of my right temporal bone, but it also seems to be further down by my ear. When I put my finger in my ear and exert pressure it hurts.

A few months ago I went to see a TMJ specialist in London. The Doctor read through all of this blog, the first time a doctor I have seen has ever looked at, let alone read, my blog. Just by reading my entries, he felt certain my headache was jaw related. He even wrote up the session’s diagnosis before I had arrived to our appointment - which he showed me after our session, ticking off each point one by one.

I decided to get a second opinion. I did some online searches and came across the website of Dr Grossman, an orthodontist in central London. His website has a detailed (and very interesting) section on headaches. I am able to tick quite a few symptom boxes:

During my first session, the Doctor prodded all sorts of points in my head, jaw, neck and shoulders - many of which made me jump. He asked me to get a TMJ MRI to see what showed. I have had two MRI’s since the onset of the headache - but neither of them of my jaw.

The results showed that my jaw is slightly displaced. I do not - and have not - got too excited at the prospect of having solved my headache, given the amount of times that I have been let down in the past, thinking I had found a cure. So now I feel hopeful but in a way nearly indifferent - of course I want the wretched pain to go away, but I am not getting my hopes too high.

I have been wearing a splint for the past three weeks day and night. The Doctor said I would notice a difference within the first week. Three weeks have gone by and I am yet to see any reduction in pain - but after five years of constant pain I am certainly not expecting the pain to disappear overnight.

But fingers crossed.