In recent years, plastic surgeons and other doctors have been promoting brow lifts (forehead lifts) as surgery to reduce or eliminate migraines. Although the theory behind this procedure is sound, a neuromuscular dentist may be a better first stop for your migraine treatment.
The Theory, Practice, and Promise of Brow Lift for Migraines
The most common type of migraine surgery is a variation on the brow lift that is intended to relieve pressure on some of the peripheral branches of the trigeminal nerve, which often plays a causal role in migraines. It was discovered by a plastic surgeon who noticed that when he smoothed some of the deep furrows in the forehead, his patients reported experiencing fewer migraines. It’s similar in principle to the use of BOTOX for migraines.
By refining the surgical technique, he came up with what he believed was a good procedure, and in 2009 published the results of a randomized study. He randomly assigned 75 migraine sufferers to receive either decompression surgery or a sham surgery. Patients who received migraine surgery saw at least a 50% reduction of migraine frequency 83% of the time, and saw a complete elimination of migraines about 57% of the time.
Why TMJ Treatment May Be Better Than Surgery
TMJ treatment works on the same basic principles as migraine surgery: muscle tension puts pressure on your nerves, which can trigger migraines. However, TMJ treatment may allow you to relax those muscles without surgery. Often, muscle tension in the head and neck may be due to an imbalance in the jaw. Jaw muscles become overworked, and because they partner with muscles in your face, head, and neck, they pass work on to their partners, which leads to tension in those muscles. By restoring balance to your jaw, it relaxes those muscles, and helps relax other muscles, eliminating pressure on your nerves and your migraines.
Another reason why TMJ treatment may be better for you is that it can address more migraine pressure points. The auriculotemporal nerve, one of the peripheral trigger points for migraines, has two trigger points within an inch to the front and above the ear canal. These pressure points are much more likely to be impacted by your jaw than your forehead. This is also true of pressure points in your face.
So before you talk to a plastic surgeon about your migraines, you may want to see what a dentist can do you. Please call 803-781-9090 for an appointment with a neuromuscular dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry in Columbia, SC.