#47 Fact: No One Knows What Causes Migraine Headaches

Does the title of this article sound strange and unlikely or even impossible.  Doctors have been treating migraine headaches for decades with a whole assortment of drugs.  They couldn’t possibly be prescribing all these drugs for migraine headaches, each connected to a long list of undesirable side effects, without knowing the actual cause, could they?  The answer is, “yes they could”.

The word “migraine” comes from the Greek, “hemicrania” and literally means “pain in half of the head”.  The first known reference to intractable headaches goes back 7000 years with evidence that Neolithic skulls underwent trepanation, (drilling holes in the skull) evacuating the evil spirits causing such terrible head pain. Reference to symptoms of migraines were noted about 1200 BC on Papyrus discovered in Egypt describing shooting head pains.

The concept of Migraine Headaches is not new.  But we in the 21st Century are blessed by “modern medicine”.  Big Pharma has supplied us with a pill that resolves every problem imaginable including erectile disfunction, pregnancy, and the anxiety associated with having either of the former problems.  There are even pills for migraine headaches.

The prevalence of headache disorders each year in the US is 52% including a 16% prevalence of severe Migraine Headaches. It appears that because migraine headaches are so common, they deserve many, many different kinds of pills.  There are hundreds of types of “over the counter” pills and even more types of prescription pills.  Why so many different types of pills for headache?  If modern medicine knows so much about headaches shouldn’t there be some consensus about what kind of pill works best rather than such a variety?  Or maybe, modern medicine does not know as much about headaches as it claims. Maybe, modern medicine really doesn’t know much about headaches at all.

But a lot of money is spent on treating headaches.  According to the Migraine Relief Center, the financial costs of migraines in the United States is $78 billion annually. Someone who requires treatment for chronic migraines can expect to spend $8,500 to $9,500 a year while those with episodic migraines may spend $2,000 a year. And these costs do not include employer cost of employee absenteeism and limited productivity.

I recently lectured to a room full of family physicians who unanimously admitted that the first thing they did with a patient with recurrent migraine headache was to order an MRI looking for brain tumors.  The average cost of an MRI in the USA is about $2,000.  The incidence of brain tumors in the US population per year is .00007%.   Brain tumors are very rare and MRIs are ordered commonly with just about all of them returning with negative findings.  A lot of money is being wasted on MRI’s if “modern medicine” could solve the cause of migraine headaches.

The fact is, “modern medicine” has no idea what causes migraine headaches, tension headaches, morning headaches or a whole lot of other headache descriptions. “Modern Medicine” is good at describing the symptoms of a disease but not so good at creating a solution.  There are a lot of theories about what causes “Migraine Headaches”. Lots and lots of theories.  Theories with names like “Trigeminal/Vascular” and “Central Neuronal Theory”.  But each and every scientific paper written on the cause of migraine headaches admits that the cause of migraine headaches remains unknown.

Be we know that thousands patients treated in our practice who were given the diagnosis of “Migraine Headache” have their symptoms of “Migraine Headache” relieved when the inflammation within the temporomandibular joint is diminished by using an oral device and protocol that unloads the temporomandibular joint like a set of crutches unloads a damaged knee.  This simple device and protocol obviously relieves bad, bad headaches that have been misdiagnosed as migraine headaches.

Maybe “modern medicine” will eventually figure out what causes “migraine headaches”.  But currently, we have the answer to bad, bad, persistent headaches caused by inflammation within the temporomandibular joint.

If you have bad, bad, persistent headaches you may want to consider a consultation with us at TMJ Services of Brentwood.  We are here to help.