For a 13-year old boy, Sam endured a lifetime’s worth of migraine headaches. The problem started in the second grade. For years, debilitating headaches affected all aspects of his life. Often the migraines would start on Mondays and it wasn’t unusual for Sam to spend afternoons trying to rest at home on the couch rather than out playing or having fun with his friends.
“About 3-4 days a month, Sam would come home early from school,” said his mother. “It forced him to miss sport practices and social activities. It was really hard on him.”
Sam’s parents started what would be a long journey to find the right kind of doctor to help their son. They began with a respected neurologist but after some diagnostics, they did not like what they heard. “We thought his answer was to put Sam on drugs. We knew that was not the right answer, him living his life on medications. We were determined to get to the root answer.”
They tried doctors. They tried naturopaths thinking it might be Sam’s diet. And, then they began trying chiropractors. And that is where they found an important clue that eventually led them to Dr. Amy Norman.
Sam found some relief after visiting a chiropractor but the migraines persisted. “After seeing a chiropractor we found with a specialized adjustment, Sam’s headaches became more and more focused and centered around his jaw,” explained his mother. “That’s how we realized his bite and jaw alignment were involved. That’s when we started looking for dentists and found Dr. Norman on the Internet.”
Dr. Norman’s training and experience treating TMJ (tempromandibular joint disorder) was about to change Sam’s life. His parents’ work to find the answer for his migraines had yielded more questions than answers. So, they really appreciated their first conversation with Judy from Dr. Norman’s Dream Team.
“I had a really great initial phone call with Judy,” Sam’s mother said. “She completely understood Sam’s situation. I was really impressed with her interest and compassion. She sounded like Dr. Norman could offer some genuine hope to help Sam.
And Dr. Norman did. She diagnosed Sam with TMJ and designed an orthotic, a prosthetic that fits comfortably in Sam’s mouth to place his jaw in the proper alignment.
Sam and his parents had found the root answer to his pain problem.
“Dr. Norman’s mouth-piece was the final piece in the puzzle,” Sam’s mother said. It has been about a full year since he had the mouth orthotic and since he has only had a few headaches and he only needs two advils to cure them.”
Now 13, Sam has the normal life of a teenage boy. No longer plagued by debilitating headaches, he plays sports, has a full social life with friends and is doing well at school. His parents’ commitment to finding the real answers has saved him a life of pain medication and chronic pain.
“The biggest problem with treating TMJ is diagnosis,” said Dr. Norman. “Sam’s parents did a great and diligent job many people do not do to find the cause of the pain. TMJ is one of the most difficult issues to diagnose because the symptoms do not always point to the jaw. I wish more people with chronic pain in the head, neck and upper body would look into the possible non-surgical solutions we offer before choosing to simply mask symptoms with pain medication. I’m so glad Sam’s parents went the extra mile for him!”