Recently launched is a new website http://www.ihateheadaches.org/. This website is run by Dr. Ira Shapira a dentist in Gurnee, Illinois. People should take CAUTION when viewing this site.
First, the site serves as a promotion tool for Dr. Ira Shapira and other neuromuscular dentists in the U.S. Of course, since Dr. Ira Shapira is located in Illinois his practice is the only one listed when you select you live in IL. Currently the site only has one or two dentists at the most for different states. Some states such as Florida currently have no “doctor’s” listed.
Secondly, the site is attempting to aid in the dentists ‘cashing’ in on the headache epidemic. In a press release by Dr. Ira Shapira he addresses a article in Medical Hypothesis (2009) “Migraine, neuropathic pain and nociceptive pain: Towards a unifying concept.“ This article can be found for your convenience at http://www.teethremoval.com/Migraine_neuropathic_pain_and_nociceptive_pain_Towards_a_unifying_concept.pdf
In the summary of the article it states “… we suggest that fundamentally all the three pain syndromes referred to in the article share a common pathophysiological mechanism, namely peripheral pain perception, peripheral sensitization at dorsal root ganglion or its intracranial counterpart (like trigeminal ganglion) and central sensitization at the spinal cord (dorsal horn for somatic pain), brain stem nuclei and thalamus before final pain perception at the sensory cortical matrix.”
Dr. Ira Shapira states in his press release “the problems of TMJ disorders (TMD) are often related to central sensitization of the trigeminal nerve secondary to nociception (painful impulses received by the brain) from peripheral problems.” Dr Shapira also argues that in addition to TMJ problems, sleep apnea can also lead to such things as morning headaches. Thus because of these two reasons it can be inferred you should see a neuromuscular dentist.
For some people it may help put an end to their headache problems by seeing a neuromuscular dentist. However, in most cases seeing a neurologist or primary care physician may be the first step towards treating headache problems. iHATEheadaches.org goes into many of the diagnosis and treatment options for headache including MRI, ECG, pain medications, natural headache treatments. Call me crazy but I have just never heard of a neuromuscular dentist ordering a MRI for a patient for a headache diagnosis. In fact when I complained of a 24/7 headache after having my wisdom teeth removed my oral surgeon told me to see my primary care physician and that my headache could not possibly be related to removing my wisdom teeth (total BS).
I think Dr. Shapira and other neuromuscular dentists should be promoting their practices as being able to treat headaches, but not mislead patients. Instead he should be focusing on integrating his treatment with other providers such as neurologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, and oral surgeons. Instead, the site does not mention anything about how to get treatment from the other specialties and makes it so the patient thinks Dr. Shapira and other neuromuscular dentists will be able to fully treat them for their headaches.
As a patient you deserve to have doctors working towards doing all they can to help improve your quality of life.