At the Headache Center of Chicago (HCC) we treat root causes for pain — not just symptomatic pain. We know that in order to achieve long-term pain relief from conditions such as chronic headaches and migraines, head and neck pain, orofacial pain, chronic muscle tension, and TMJ you must correct the problems causing the pain. Simply masking the pain with drugs is not enough.
HCC’s In-office Approach to Pain Relief
Treatment starts at the Center, and depending on the type and severity of your condition the in-office treatments sessions may last from 8 to 12 weeks. HCC uses a combination of neuromuscular rehabilitation and treatment protocols to achieve long term headache pain relief for patients in pain. Those treatment protocols include:
1. Manual trigger point release/massage
3. Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)
4. Low-level application of Cold Laser
Once a thorough diagnostic examination has been performed by our neuromuscular dentists, the treatment protocols most suitable for rehabilitating your unique pain condition are assigned. We determine where the treatment protocols must be focused for proper rehabilitation, and for how long the in-office treatments need to last.
HCC’s At-home Approach to Pain Relief
One of the huge differentiators between HCC’s approach to providing headache pain relief is that we give patients the tools and training they need to maintain the progress they have make from having in-office treatments when they go home.
There are FOUR primary components to aid the patient in maintaining a pain-free lifestyle in the home:
1. HOT & COLD PACKS – the compresses are used by patients in the home after treatment sessions. You may experience some post-treatment pain after the first few sessions which is normal. Remember, we are correcting severe neuromuscular imbalances in your body which is p3retty serious business! The post treatment pain will eventually subside. In the meantime, patient are encouraged to use the cold packs during weeks 1-4 in particular, and perhaps “as needed” throughout treatment. The hot pack can be utilized anytime but under specific guidelines. you will receive explicit instructions from our clinicians on hot/cold pack usage, and it will most certainly aid you in feeling better if you experience post-therapy discomfort for a while.
2. EXERCISES – maintaining normal range of motion and flexibility, muscle health, and neuromuscular function is absolutely critical to living pain free and without limitations. The progress made from in-office treatments is carried through in this way so that the nerves, muscles stay healthy and the neuromuscular distress doesn’t return.
The exercises consist primarily of stretching regimens designed to gently stretch your head, neck and shoulders. Exercises are performed every day in the mornings and evenings, but can also be done more often throughout the day if necessary. Opening and closing the mouth slowly for brief intervals during day is also recommended. As therapy progresses the stretching will get easier and the muscles will be less sore.
3. REHABILITATION ORTHOTIC – The rehabilitation orthotic is a critical part of your treatment in the home. It needs to be worn every night and thought the day if recommended by your therapist. The orthotic helps to relax your muscles and bring you jaw into a relaxed and normal healthy position. It also helps to restore you bite to the most balanced position and stops clenching and grinding of the teeth. This orthotic device is what allows the progress made during in-office therapies to be maintained and not lost. Clinicians at HCC will instruct you on when and how often to wear it based on your unique diagnoses, progress over time, and so on.
4. CRANIAL ELECTROTHERAPY STIMULATION (CES) – While the clinicians at HCC will use this type of treatment protocol in your rehabilitation at the office, you will also be given what is known as an AlphaStim Unit to take home with you. The microcurrent applications of the alpha wave technology in an AlphaStim Unit are uniquely beneficial for neuromotor re-education and managing the abnormal neurochemistry present in chronic pain patients. The AlphaStim can actually modify and modulate a patient’s sensorimotor, proprioceptive, and somatosensory reflexes. This helps to correct problems in the feedback pathways that contribute to dysfunction and pain. Use of AlphaStim can also help correct your sleep patterns. This device essentially “scrambles” the brain’s pain signals to reduce pain in the short-term, while the neural re-education benefits correct dysfunction and pain manifestation for the longer term. You will be thoroughly instructed in this device’s proper use in the home.
Are You Ready for a Pain Free Life?
Don’t underestimate the benefits of a comprehensive plan for chronic pain management without drugs. Drugs mask symptoms temporarily, but they do not correct root causes.
Many patients who have come to HCC found us because they desired a more natural approach to headache pain relief; one where they KNEW they would have some control over their own treatment progress. They loved the fact that they would be fully engaged in their own wellness from the comfort of their own home. Those patients found what they were looking for and now enjoy more productive lifestyles free from chronic headache and migraine pain.
Call us today and let us help you get engaged in your own health and well-being!