Migraine is a highly debilitating condition. Worldwide, it may account for more lost productivity than any other health condition. Migraine sufferers know how hard it is to work, enjoy themselves, or even simply rest during a migraine attack. They also know how hard it is to find a way to manage migraines successfully. Many sufferers try multiple techniques but still remain unhappy with their results. 

As a result, migraineurs–migraine sufferers–can get excited at mentioning new possible approaches to dealing with migraines. The new idea that migraines can be controlled with a simple nasal spray seems particularly exciting, but it’s important to temper excitement to match reality. That’s why we’re talking about some of the important aspects of this new approach to managing migraines. 

Migraineurs who are not happy with the results from their current approach to managing migraines should consider treatment for temporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD). Talk to a Lee’s Summit TMJ dentist at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea to learn about this option. 

adult woman smiling with teeth

Our TMJ Treatment Is Available Now

One of the most important benefits our TMJ treatment has over the migraine nasal spray is that it’s available now. The FDA has not yet approved the nasal spray for migraines. Instead, the current excitement for the treatment comes from the results of a clinical trial intended to support the approval application. The trial is listed as a phase 2 / phase 3 trial. 

Phase 3 trials are the last phase necessary before the FDA considers medication approval. However, supporting a successful application sometimes takes more than one phase 3 trial. It is not clear whether Pfizer, the company that owns the drug, will now seek approval or will conduct additional trials before completing their application. 

Even without additional trials, the drug is likely a year or more from being available. 

However, the TMJ treatment we offer is available now. You can request an appointment at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Lee’s Summit, and we’ll perform an evaluation to see if you are a good candidate for TMJ treatment. Some people may see benefits, such as reduced migraine frequency and intensity, right away.

The Nasal Spray Shows Only Moderate Effectiveness

Pfizer is excited about the results of the recent clinical trials, and many people are also speaking enthusiastically about the promise of this treatment. However, it’s important to understand that the nasal spray’s results were merely okay. For the highest dose used, 23% of people were pain-free and 43% were free of their most bothersome symptom 2 hours after getting the medication. This was statistically better than the placebo (16% pain-free and 34% free of their most bothersome symptom), but still limited.

At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, we offer multiple TMJ treatment options. We can work with you to find the one that gives you the best results for relieving migraines and other symptoms like jaw pain, and we won’t stop trying until you’re satisfied with your results.

Drug Side Effects Are Possible

If one might be disappointed in the treatment’s effectiveness, at least the drug didn’t have many side effects in the trial. The only ones listed in the abstract were dysgeusia (loss of sense of taste), nausea, and nasal discomfort. These affected 16%, 4%, and 5% of people taking the highest dose. The study also notes that there were no signs that the drug affected the liver. 

However, it’s important to note that this is a relatively short-term study involving a few people. Many serious drug side effects don’t become apparent until thousands of people take drugs for long periods of time. Currently, there is very limited long-term safety data on CGRP inhibitors.

At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, we offer multiple options for relieving TMJ symptoms, including migraines, without drugs. This means you can avoid drug side effects.

The Nasal Spray Is a CGRP-Inhibitor

Calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP) play a key role in the development of many migraines. CGRP release is a feature in migraines preceding the painful attack. In addition, intravenous injection of CGRP can trigger migraine-like attacks in migraineurs. 

CGRP also seems to play a role in sensitization. Sensitization is when your nervous system becomes conditioned to experience pain, even from stimuli that shouldn’t be painful. Sensitization contributes to many chronic pain types, including migraine and TMJ. 

When CGRP inhibitors were introduced, developers hoped they would offer unequaled migraine relief. CGRP inhibitors are a game-changer for some people, but, as in this trial, they may only provide relief for 50% or less of migraineurs. If you have tried CGRP inhibitors without success, the new nasal spray might not work for you. In a related development, some researchers think they’ve identified a test to show which people will respond to CGRP inhibitors

We don’t know if CGRP inhibitors can reduce sensitization and combat chronic pain. 

CGRP is one of the pathways by which TMJ can trigger migraines. TMJ treatment in Lee’s Summit offers a drug-free way to target the CGRP pathway. Because this is only one of the migraine causes affected by TMJ, many migraineurs who don’t benefit from CGRP inhibitors might still benefit from TMJ treatment. In other words, TMJ treatment can help both those who do–and do not–get results from CGRP inhibitors.

An Alternative to Migraine Drugs in Lee’s Summit

In general, mainstream migraine treatment heavily favors the use of drugs. Often, these come with serious side effects. CGRP inhibitors are, so far,  an exception in this regard, but data is limited. TMJ treatment offers multiple drug-free paths that might provide migraine relief. You might benefit from TMJ exercises or oral appliances. At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, we even offer holistic TMJ treatments like ozone therapy and photobiostimulation. 

If you are looking for a migraine treatment that doesn’t just involve taking a new pill, let us help. Please call (816) 795-1000 or use our online form to request an appointment at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Lee’s Summit.