Why a trip to the dentist’s chair might be way to beat migraine

HEADACHE: Migraine is the most common neurological condition.
HEADACHE: Migraine is the most common neurological condition.
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A Doncaster dentist is helping people suffering from migraine after he successfully treated himself. Catherine Scott reports.

people suffering from migraine normally visit their GP for help. But now Doncaster dentist Dr Pavandeep Khaira wants them to be able to go to the dentist instead.

Dr Khaira is believed to be the first dentist in Europe to set up a dedicated clinic for migraine sufferers.

The Migraine Care Institute in Doncaster aims to help people who suffer from migraine attacks, pounding tension headaches or morning headaches

“We are seeing around 93 per cent success rates, some in people who have suffered from migraine for 40 years. It is really changing their lives.”

Dr Khaira believes that most migraines stem from people clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth during sleep. He has discovered a “bite guard” which is specially fitted to stop people grinding their teeth and alleviates the symptoms of migraine. He also sometimes uses Botox.

Dr Khaira discovered the treatment during discussions with dentists in America.

“I had suffered from jaw joint problems and weekly headaches for years,” he explained. “Like many people I thought the headaches were down to overwork as I didn’t have many of the symptoms associated with migraine such as the flashing lights and aura. I’d been to the doctors over the years but the treatment I had received was somewhat wishy-washy. But while I was doing some research into cosmetic dentistry in America I kept getting told not to do work on people who had jaw problems and headaches but no one could tell me why.

“It got my interest going and I decided there must be someone who knew why. I found a handful of dentists who run pain clinics who treat people for facial pains and migraine. They were convinced of the link between jaw joint problems and headaches. Of course this interested me on a personal level and so I thought I’d give it a try.

“That was more than two years ago and I had hardly had a migraine since. The dentists were so excited about the discovery and they couldn’t understand why we didn’t do anything similar over here.”

So on his return to the UK he set about creating the Migraine Care Institute.

One of Dr Khaira’s patients, Dawn Calow, had been suffering from migraine for six years and it had got so bad that she ended up being hospitalised and taking four months off work.

“I didn’t think Dr Khaira could help me,” said the mother of one young daughter. “I just thought it was another thing to try.

“The day I came in to see Dr Khaira I had been suffering from a bad migraine for two days, so I was feeling very low.

“I went to sleep with a bad migraine, and when I woke up the next morning it had gone! I remember lying in bed thinking ‘Is this normal?’. I’ve been headache-free ever since.

“It’s been wonderful waking up without headaches and having the energy to get on with my daily life.I’ve even joined the gym again and I feel as though I have my life back.”

Dr Khaira says he does not offer a cure, but does offer a guarantee that if the treatment, which costs on average £500, doesn’t work he will offer a refund.

Often people notice a difference with days but on average after about six to eight weeks. The longest took six months.

“People often don’t realise they grind their teeth or clench their jaw when they are asleep because they often don’t make any noise.

“Doctors and neurologists will look for a medical solution, I come at it from a different angle – but it is very much a team approach.”

Dr Khaira says he would like to see more people being taught the method.

“I am really excited about it, we can help so many people either come off medication or help make their medication more effective.”

MISERY OF MIGRAINE

Migraine is the most common neurological condition; it affects people of all ages, social classes, races and cultures. Two-thirds of sufferers are women, and people are more likely to experience migraine between the ages of 20 - 50 years. A migraine attack can last from 4 to 72 hours. Non-sufferers often find it extremely difficult to understand how someone can be fine one minute and then totally debilitated the next.

Migraine Awareness Week (MAW) is a yearly affair starting on the first Sunday in September. The week aims to raise awareness of the condition and encourage those affected to seek information and advice to help manage their migraine.www.migraine.org.uk

For more details on the Migraine Care Institure in Doncaster visit

www.migrainecare.co.uk