Headaches. Back Pain. Pain with No Explanation. ANY Kind of Pain. Causes, Therapies, Medications, Research.Background Story
There are 2 stories underlying this new Collection. One is professional, and the other is personal.
As a dentist, I deal with patients suffering in pain on a daily basis. Most of the time, the causes and treatments are quite straightforward: cavities, trauma and broken teeth, gum disease. 90% of the time, I can diagnose the cause and recommend appropriate treatment with 1-2 x-rays and a brief visual exam, and there are only about 5-6 different treatment options. But sometimes it's not that easy. There's referred pain
), in which a tooth on the top might hurt, when in reality it's a tooth on the bottom. There is muscular pain
caused by intense clenching or grinding; this can even lead to headaches, migraines, jaw pain, locking, and more. And it's not always obvious. Diagnosing and treating patients in pain involves a lot of listening and working towards a diagnosis, rather than having something clear-cut.
On the professional side, I will be writing about advances in understanding, diagnosing, and treating pain, primarily of the head and neck, as those are my particular areas.
I've written about this experience previously, but to recap: in early July 2015, after going to bed on Wed. evening feeling great, I woke up Thursday morning in the most excruciating pain of my life. It took nearly 3 months before I had a full day without pain, but even now there are times when I feel twinges and have to be very careful. The recover involved muscle relaxants, massage, physical therapy, laser biostimulation, pain medications (non-narcotics, as I can't stand the feeling of being on hydrocodone), yoga, etc.
Through learning how to manage and understand my own pain, I learned that the fundamental understanding of pain (nerves, muscles, neurotransmitters, central and peripheral nervous system roles) has advanced significantly since I finished dental school over 17 years ago.
I've now embarked on a learning journey to better understand the nature and experience of pain, diagnosis, management, and treatment. As I mentioned, this will be primarily focused on the head, neck, and upper back/shoulders, but I certainly welcome discussion about all kinds of pain.Rules of Discussion
For anyone who wants to discuss the topic, I do require it to be evidence and science-based. No pseudo-scientific woo or junk, please. Alternative methods of pain relief can be discussed insofar as they are supported by evidence and not personal belief.