Posted by: Paul | 2009/04/22

Jaw Clenching

I have been on Solatran for a few months (taken at night) to help reduce jaw clenching, which has been causing me to wake up in the mornings with head aches. This worked very well and the head aches stopped. My GP has now taken me off the solatran as it is apparently habit forming. (don' t want that) I am now on Veltex and the headaches are back. Have also tried the mouth plate while sleeping. What now?....please help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageHeadache expert

Dear Paul,

I am in complete agreement – one doesn’t want to rely on medication, particularly if there are other treatment methods available. Certainly, if the Veltex is not helping, then you should stop taking it. With regard to the mouth plate, it depends to a large extent what kind of mouth plate you were given – there are different designs – some work better than others.

Headaches are complex though, and your clenching may not be the only problem, so you need a proper clinical assessment. To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension, and of the external carotid vasculature to determine whether there is an arterial element to the pain.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 91

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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