For 35 years, a 64-year-old man had been suffering from unexplained headaches that severely limited his quality of life. They appeared mostly in the morning and in the evening. After years of no cure for the doctors, a maxillofacial surgeon finally made the crucial discovery.
It was a 35-year martyrdom: At the beginning, the headache was only occasionally. Then they grew stronger and made problems for a 64-year-old American three to five times a week.
They began behind the ear and slowly moved towards the forehead and temples, the right side being more affected than the left. Finally, he could only do his everyday life with a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. When the pain persisted, he resorted to the drugs codeine and acetaminophen, which he combined three times a day, said a physician in the British Medical Journal.
Doctors could not help him at first
When the man turned to a doctor at some point, he could not find any signs of illness. The 64-year-old looked healthy at first glance, did not smoke, did not drink alcohol, did not use drugs, and had no neurological disorders. Also, the high blood pressure that was diagnosed five years ago, which is treated with medication, could be excluded as a cause.
Finally, the diagnosis was: chronic migraine without aura. This was treated with a migraine medication, which he discontinued because of severe side effects such as extreme dizziness. For years, the man continued to suffer from headaches, without any explanation.
The true cause was in his mouth
The doctors began to examine the patient completely. But everything that was examined was in the normal range and was therefore inconspicuous. The only thing the doctors noticed: The man had very bad teeth. There were extensive interventions such as root canal treatments and fillings made.
Although no pain zones or gingival changes could be detected externally, the 64-year-old remembered that the heavier toothache also increased the headache. Then the man visited an oral surgeon, who finally solved the riddle by x-rays of the mouth. The images showed two sets of pus in the gum above and below a molar – both on the right side. These triggered a strong headache for years.
Finally, painless after 35 years
After the pus was removed by surgery and the man took antibiotics for the inflammation for ten days, the headache finally faded away bit by bit. At the follow-up, 24 months later, the patient was completely pain-free for the first time after 35 years. His quality of life has improved noticeably since then, the man reports.
The doctors warn with this case, that one should ignore, especially under any circumstances longer-lasting headache under any circumstances. In migraine that pulls up to the face, the teeth must be considered more closely. Often there are problems that are not obvious at first glance.