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Headache & Orofacial Pain

Headaches are an extremely common condition that most people will experience in their lifetime. Typically described as a constant, throbbing pressure in the face or head, headaches have a variety of causes including tension, dehydration, illness, hunger, exhaustion, and excess physical activity.

Most headaches are minor, can be treated with over the counter medications, and resolve relatively quickly. But some headaches are symptoms of a more significant condition or disorder.

Our Specialists

Community Memorial’s headache and orofacial pain experts have years of experience identifying and evaluating all the factors that may be contributing to your persistent headaches or orofacial pain. Located at our Community Memorial Health Centers throughout west Ventura County. They specialize in:

  • Headache disorders
  • Orofacial pain syndromes
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring

Treatment Options

Following a comprehensive evaluation that includes an in-depth medical history, questionnaire, and in-person exam, our specialists will develop a treatment plan specific to your symptoms and diagnosis. This may include medications, lifestyle modifications, traditional therapeutic interventions, and alternative therapies as needed.

Headache Disorders

Headache disorders include migraines, cluster headaches, tension-type headaches, and others. Treatment options for headache disorders depend on the type, intensity, and frequency of your headaches, and may include one or more of the following:

  • Botox injections for chronic migraines
  • Preventative medication, taken daily to prevent headaches from starting
  • Rescue medication, take when a headache starts to reduce the length and severity
  • Occipital nerve blocks injected into the back of the head to eliminate head pain
  • Trigeminal nerve blocks injected into the eyebrow area to stop eye and forehead pain
  • Trigger point injections placed in painful muscles that may be causing head pain
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion blocks deposited behind the nose to turn off a pain response

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD)

The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull, with one joint located on each side of your jaw. Each joint includes your bones, cartilage, and small, shock-absorbing disk that normally keeps the movement smooth. TMD can be caused by arthritis, an eroding of the disc, or an acute injury to the jar area. In many cases, the cause of TMD is unknown. Treatment options include:

  • Custom oral/dental devices to help reduce tension on the jaw and reposition the jaw if needed
  • Joint injections to help reduce inflammation and pain within the joint
  • Muscle or trigger point injections to reduce inflammation, eliminate knots, and minimize pain using anesthetic or Botox

Neuropathic & Atypical Facial Pain

Neuropathic facial pain is caused by the compression of one of the major nerves of the head. It is usually described as a constant burning or intermittent prickling pain on one or both sides of the face. Atypical facial pain feels similar, but generally cannot be attributed to specific cause. Both neuropathic and atypical facial pain can be treated with:

  • Preventative medications taken daily to prevent pain from starting
  • Topical treatments applied to the gum region of the mouth
  • Oral stents placed over the teeth and gums to provide relief for a painful area
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion block deposited behind the nose to disable a pain response

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that occurs when the muscles that support your tongue and soft pallet relax, temporarily narrowing or closing off your airway during sleep. This can momentarily cut off your breathing, and usually occurs repeatedly over the course of one night of sleep. If left untreated, OSA can cause snoring and more serious health complications such as pulmonary hypertension.

Our specialists treat OSA using custom oral/dental appliances that fit over the teeth and position the jaw forward, keeping the airway open. These devices are:

  • An effective first-line treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea
  • More comfortable than a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP)
  • Portable and convenient to travel with
  • Easy to clean
  • Effective at eliminating soring and creating a better night’s sleep for you and your partner