For many women, pregnancy is a minefield of uncomfortable symptoms that often don’t have a simple remedy. That’s because restrictions on the medicines women can take while they are pregnant, limit their choices for relief. Everything from headaches to heartburn to anxiety must be treated with little to no medication.
When patients of mine can’t simply reach for their pain reliever of choice, a small headache can turn into a big one. They may turn to websites, and home remedies for help, but they might be better off turning to a surprising place. A dentist.
How Can We Treat Headaches During Pregnancy Holistically?
Yes, a TMJ dentist, like myself may have some surprising solutions. With my support there are options that can help relieve the pain for Mom, and keep baby safe and healthy.
To learn more about those options, we first need to get a better understanding of what can cause headaches during pregnancy, as well as why women suffer from headaches more than men.
What Causes Headaches During Pregnancy?
As with many symptoms of pregnancy, the culprit is often changes in hormones. A surge of hormones, as well as an increase in blood can contribute to headaches during pregnancy.
Stress is another big factor involved in headaches during pregnancy. This means that the best way to help pregnant women relieve headache symptoms naturally is to help them rest and relax. Massages, acupuncture, warm baths, and drinking plenty of water are all ways to reduce the toll that both pregnancy stress can take on a woman’s body and mind.
Is it Pregnancy or TMJ?
However, while headaches during pregnancy are often a simple symptom of the condition, they can sometimes be something more. It could be what is called TMJ disorder. As a TMJ dentist in the Indianapolis area, I see this problem frequently in pregnant patients.
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint that allows the jaw to open and close. TMJ disorder occurs when this joint is inflamed or irritated causing pain such as headaches.
It is important for me to determine whether or not a patient’s pain is related to normal pregnancy symptoms, or whether TMJ is causing it.
To compound this diagnosis is the fact that women in their child-bearing years are the most at risk, and the most prevalent demographic for developing TMJ. It follows suit of course that since more women are at risk of getting TMJ, more women suffer from headaches when compared to men.
It’s easy to see how these two separate instances can get conflated, and it’s part of my job to make sure that TMJ is diagnosed and treated properly. This is why speaking with my patients is so important.
A doctor may be prone to chalk the headaches up to the obvious, but as a dentist, I am constantly considering how the mouth and jaw influence a person’s overall well being. Therefore, getting the bigger picture is always helpful when advising treatment options.
What Holistic Treatments Are There for TMJ?
For a pregnant woman searching for relief from her chronic headaches I can determine if TMJ disorder is causing the symptoms, and I can offer non-invasive treatments that relieve the pain without the dangers that medicine can present.
Finding these solutions often begins when patients ask, “How can I get rid of a headache while pregnant?” They just might be surprised by the answer.
For TMJ sufferers, it all centers on correcting the bite.
- The first step is to provide immediate relief of the pain. For a pregnant patient looking to avoid medications this relief can come in the form of massage or a small machine called a TENS unit that we use to relax the muscles of the jaw, and increase blood flow. By switching the focus form the head to the jaw, patients can find temporary relief from the symptomatic headaches.
- After helping to alleviate the initial symptoms it is time to focus on the cause. Patients are fitted with a non-invasive orthotic to help stabilize their bite. Once the bite is stabilized, patients can opt to pursue more permanent corrective measures like orthodontic treatment.
These long-term treatments mean that there is no reason that women should suffer from TMJ induced headaches, whether pregnant or not.
A Healthy Mouth and a Healthy Body
It also means that women, pregnant or not, should discuss their frequent headaches with a dentist as well as a doctor. Relief can come in surprising places, but it only happens when people can look beyond the obvious. For me, it happens when I consider the symptoms of the whole body as well as the mouth.
Setting up a consultation with me today is one step closer to relieving your pain and focusing on what truly matters, which is your pregnancy.
Dr. Mike Deldar, DDS – dentist Noblesville, TMJ dentist Indy
Dr. Mike Deldar is a sleep apnea specialist that helps people who want CPAP alternatives and those that snore. Here’s a woman upset that her husband snores. She’s holding a pillow over her head to cover all the snoring from his sleep apnea.