If you suffer from frequent headaches, you know how disruptive they can be. One minute you’re hard at work on a deadline, and the next you’re curled up on your bed with the blinds drawn. Migraines especially can ruin your day. Lasting between 4-72 hours, they can come with not just pain, but nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells. What’s worse is that we don’t yet have a tried-and-true method for treating migraines. While some have luck with magnesium supplements, tracking triggers using the latest app, or upping your daily exercise, others have been suffering for years without a solution.
Aimovig, a new preventative treatment for frequent migraines, hopes to offer some patients a relief.
What is Aimovig?
Manufactured by Amgen and Novartis, Amovig is a monthly injected migraine treatment approved by the FDA on May 17, 2018. Costing nearly $7000 a year, and not yet covered by most insurance agencies, Aimovig blocks a specific protein fragment known as CGRP, which may initiate or be part of the migraine process. Based on the results of three clinical trials, the largest one housing 955 patients with an average of 8.3 migraines per month, patients taking 70-mg does had 3.2 fewer migraine days compared with 1.8 of those assigned to the placebo group. Little to no side-effects have been reported, though long-term effects are yet to be determined.
Alternative Headache Treatments
Unfortunately, Aimovig’s performance relative to the placebo treatment is not stellar. The drug didn’t measure to be even twice as effective at reducing migraines. Clinicians are still excited by the possibilities, as they open up the door for more migraine treatments which target CGRP, but currently, this may not be the answer for everyone. The price-point alone could prevent many from even accessing this treatment, making it difficult for the roughly 40 million Americans who have migraines. Luckily, there are other possible migraine treatments.
Those reluctant or unable to try Aimovig could possible prevent their headaches by seeking a drug-free treatment for TMJ. Temporomandibular joint disorder is an umbrella term describing a set of symptoms related to the temporomandibular joint. The function of this joint is like a sliding hinge, allowing your jaw to move back and forth, and side to side as well as up and down. Because of the complex relationship between this joint and the rest of the skull, any disorder in this area of the body could cause far-reaching symptoms, including, vertigo, tingling fingers, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Although the relationship between TMJ and migraines have yet to be conclusively linked, the muscles and nerves of the area have been known to trigger tension headaches. One possible link between TMJ and migraines could be explained by the trigeminal nerve, which can become overstimulated but tension in the jaw. Not only that, but some believe that TMJ plays a central role in causing elevated levels of CGRP. Treating TMJ could potentially lead to the same benefit as Aimovig, but through a drug-free pathway.
If you’ve been experiencing frequent migraines coupled with other TMJ symptoms like jaw pain, you should schedule an appointment with your local dentist as soon as possible. TMJ can be a degenerative disorder, eventually causing more serious complications like a misaligned bite.
If you’re having TMJ problems, give us a call at (907) 349-0022 or Contact us to let us at Excellence in Dentistry help today!