Q&A Topic: Treating chronic headaches, migraines, TMJ and other pain with dentomandibular rehabilitation
|Dr. Jeffrey S. Harris
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Q: What is dentomandibular rehabilitation and what does it treat?
It’s a drug free, needle free, pain free treatment course that helps to rehabilitate the muscles of the head, neck and jaw. The treatments can be used in patients who suffer a myriad of symptoms, generally treating many, if not most, of the painful conditions that occur in and around a patient’s head, neck and jaw. We treat headaches, migraines, and chronic head and neck tension conditions. We’ve had success treating patients with vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus, head and neck pain, TMJ and jaw pain. Dentomandibular rehabilitation is highly effective because the treatment focus is always on the actual root causes for the pain, not the symptoms. In this way, long-lasting pain resolution is possible.
Q: How does dentomandibular rehabilitation work?
The treatments are a combination of physical medicine modalities, along with new techniques and technologies used in professional sports. The physical medicine procedures are used to rehabilitate muscles of the head, neck and jaw that aren’t functioning correctly. We also use 3-D computer models to analyze and balance the forces of the bite with great precision. We may also employ low-level application of Cold Laser, which is a treatment used for professional athletes to get them back on the field quicker.
Our treatments involve no needles, no pain and no drugs. Generally, treatments last an hour to an hour and a half, once to twice per week. We can give people their quality of life back in as little as three to four visits, and a maximum of 16 visits. There’s usually no follow up, but some on-going homecare protocols are used. We give patients certain devices to take home and we teach them that when they go through periods of stress, or have triggers, they can do their home care which is generally all they need to remain pain free.
Q: Medications usually play a large role in treating chronic pain conditions. What are your thoughts about medication use for chronic pain management?
The medical world doesn’t really understand what we do to manage forces of the head, neck, jaw and teeth. The only avenue that physicians can give a patient is a pharmacological agent, which has side effects. A patient’s body builds up a tolerance over time, so they’re usually only effective short term. Most of my patients have exhausted every drug option with no success, and that’s mainly because drugs used today aren’t working at the source of where headaches and migraines are controlled, so they’re generally not effective long-term. Patients have tried other avenues, like neurologists, chiropractors, hypnosis and Botox injections with no success. We’re usually the last place they come because many don’t know what dentomandibular rehabilitation is, or that it’s an option. There are not many doctors in the country that are trained to do this and yet there are over 50 million people suffering with chronic and persistent headaches, migraines, and neck and jaw pain.
Q: Can dentomandibular rehabilitation help anyone who suffers with headaches, migraines, TMJ or Chronic Tension?
For 92 percent of the patients that I examine, they are candidates for what we do. There’s about eight percent that unfortunately we cannot help because their condition is not related to dentomandibular force imbalances. Their pain is being caused by something else. For those that we do treat, our long-term success rate throughout the country is about 98 percent. This is a highly effective treatment option.
Q: If somebody thinks he or she is a candidate, how does the process work during the first appointment and going forward to treat chronic pain?
The patient’s first visit lasts about two and half hours. There is some non-invasive testing that we do when they arrive, followed by an hour to hour and a half consultation, where I sit down with the patient, review all of their data, and we look at it together to see whether or not the patient can be helped by our treatment protocols. From there, I answer any of their questions and we determine an appropriate path forward for them.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Harris, has been practicing for over 30 years, treating chronic pain conditions such as headaches, migraines and TMD utilizing state-of-the-art technologies. Dr. Harris is a member of the American Dental Association and the Dental Society of Chester and Delaware County.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Harris
Migraine Headache Relief Center of Pennsylvania
300 Old Forge Lane #303
Kennett Square, PA 19348