Posts by: Momentum

Importance of Sleep & Dreams

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Freud perseverated on dreams during sleep and emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind. He postulated that our brains paralyze our muscles during REM sleep to save us from hurting ourselves if we are physically acting out our dreams during sleep. His belief was that the unconscious mind governs the body’s behavior and makes us, in a way, conscious while we are asleep. While our body slows down and becomes quite inactive during REM sleep, it allows blood flow into the relaxed muscles to rejuvenate cells that have been loaded with toxins. Even though our brain is still active during REM sleep, we do lose some daytime rationality, which is why we dream of things that during the day we know could not happen. Dreams during sleep of choking, suffocating or drowning could be indicative of OSA or other sleep disorders and should be pursued accordingly. Click this link to read more about the importance of dreams during sleep.

OSA and Chronic Pain

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The following article outlines the relationship between pain and sleep disturbances, specifically their cause-and-effect relationship.  Chronic pain impairs quality of sleep, and poor sleep cycles intensify pain. Approximately 28 million Americans report sleep issues stemming from chronic pain.  Patients who experience fragmented sleep may have a decreased pain threshold and longer recovery times from injuries.  According to the following article, OSA was diagnosed in 35% – 57% of patients in long-term pain clinics. Additionally, for patients receiving narcotics, 35.2% were diagnosed with OSA and 14.1% with CSA. Click here to read the full article on the relationship between OSA and chronic pain.

Songs to get your baby to sleep

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If you’ve recently had a baby, or you know what it’s like to have a newborn, then you know how frustrating it is when you can’t get your baby to go to sleep.  There have been countless studies done in regards to different music styles that affect sleep, however there (unfortunately) is no one “right” song or music type.  What several studies did have in common is that having a bedtime routine makes for a longer period of undisturbed sleep for both the parents and baby.  The routine can include a bath, a song/lullaby, a story, any way that the baby will hear the parent’s voice repeatedly creates a soothing and calming environment.  Singing lullabies to your baby can lower anxiety and heart rate, much like the sounds from being inside the womb.  Remember, a good night’s sleep for your baby is matched by a good night’s sleep for mom and dad.  Click on this link to read more on this topic and listen to a few songs to sing babies to sleep.

Symptoms of TMJ Pain

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symptoms of tmj









TMJ is a disorder that affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull and hinges so that you can move your mouth to eat and communicate. While TMJ is often characterized by headaches and jaw pain, you can experience TMJ eye symptoms, along with neck and ears. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ, though it often develops after an injury or because of nighttime jaw clenching, stress, or arthritis. TMJ can affect anyone, though it’s more common among women and those aged 20 to 40. If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ, it’s important to know these seven things about the symptoms of this disorder.


Symptoms Can Be Temporary or Permanent

 TMJ may arise without warning and last just a few weeks or months, affecting just one side of the face or both sides of the joint. In some cases, though, symptoms persist for many years or even permanently. Medical attention can help alleviate the discomfort of this condition and prevent complications such as damage to the teeth and jawbone.


Widespread Pain May Occur

 If you have TMJ, your entire face and neck area may feel tender. Pain from this condition can affect the lower jaw, cheekbones, neck, and shoulders. Sometimes, you may also have TMJ eye symptoms.


Function Can Be Affected

 Those with TMJ may have difficulty opening their mouths wide and/or hear a clicking or popping sound when they chew, yawn, or otherwise move the jaw. In some cases, jaws can even get stuck in an open or closed position, which is often painful.


TMJ Can Cause Ear-Related Complications

 In addition to earaches, those with TMJ can experience difficulty hearing and/or develop tinnitus, a ringing sensation in the ears. Dizziness can also result from this condition.


Home Remedies May Help

 We often recommend that patients take steps to alleviate TMJ symptoms at home. This can include over-the-counter pain medications, hot or cold packs, relaxation techniques, and maintaining proper posture.


Jaw Exercises Can Relieve Pain

 Specific exercises can reduce TMJ symptoms by relaxing the jaw, strengthening the joint and the supporting muscles, and increasing joint mobility. For example, rest your tongue just behind your front teeth and open your mouth slightly to relax your jaw muscles if you often notice that you’re clenching your jaw when at rest. Seek medical advice to make sure that you’re doing exercises correctly, especially if you’re still having discomfort.


Treatment Is Available

 For those with more severe symptoms that do not respond to conservative measures, treatment can help resolve joint issues. This can include anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxers, splinting, night guards, and dental work to correct bite issues that may be causing TMJ. Severe problems with the jawbone can be surgically corrected.

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ in Michigan, Michigan Head and Neck Institute PC can help. Fill out our online TMJ checklist to evaluate your symptoms, then call us at 586-473-1533 to schedule a consultation. Our physicians have provided specialty care for TMJ and obstructive sleep apnea to the Warren community since 1985.

Cells Affecting Circadian Rhythms

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Since the 1970’s, scientists have been unable to determine which cells in the brain are responsible for controlling the circadian rhythm in humans, due to the massive number of neurons involved.  The circadian rhythm in humans, which is produced by the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus), is located within the hypothalamus.  Approximately 2 years ago, Dr. Joseph Takahashi (Chairman of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern) discovered that a group of the SCN neurons express a neuropeptide called NMS (neuromedin S), which is necessary for the control of the circadian rhythm in humans.  These NMS neurons perform as a regulator for the body’s sleep cycle, much like a pacemaker works with the heart.  This study was a gateway into future treatments related to sleep disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic dysfunctions and other neurological problems.  Dr. Takahashi’s lab continues to make great strides in regards to this research.  Click here to read about the study on cells affecting the circadian rhythm in humans from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Lack of Sleep Effects on Brain

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The long-term effect of insignificant oxygenation to individual cells in our body and lack of sleep has been shown to initiate the degradation of organs on a cellular basis.  Chronically sleep-deprived people are impaired – both physically and mentally. Cognitive function and mood suffers. In addition, liver cells, brain cells, kidney cells, etc. require a continual replenishment of oxygen, concomitant with a release and exhalation of carbon dioxide.  Improper oxygenation reduces REM sleep, and without proper REM sleep, death creeps closer on a daily basis.


Click here to read the full article.


Early Signs of Dementia in Younger Adults

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Is longer sleep duration a sign of early neurodegeneration?  This deterioration causes a loss in cognitive ability/function, which ultimately can increase the incidence of dementia. Prolonged sleep duration is categorized as more than 9 hours of sleep per night (6 hours being short, and 6-9 hours being average).  Should this sleep pattern persist over an extended period of time, chances of dementia are significantly higher.  In addition to dementia, people experiencing chronic inadequate sleep are at higher risk for other health complications including heart disease, diabetes, depression, obesity and cancer.  Declines in cognition are most clearly defined through executive functions (EF).  While a certain amount of cognitive decline is normal/expected with age, changes in cognitive function go along with healthy aging. It just so happens that some functions are more susceptible to the effects of aging than others.  These, among others, can be an early sign of dementia. Click this link to read the full article.

Treatment Options for TMJ

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treatment options for tmj










The joints of your jaw, temporomandibular Joints or TMJ, can sometimes give you trouble in the form of ear, neck or jaw pain or powerful headaches. No matter which type of pain you’re plagued with, know that we here at the Michigan Head & Neck Institute have the experience and solutions you need for effective TMJ treatment.



Before diving into your options for treatment for your TMJ disorder, we’d first like to make sure it’s your jaw joints that are giving you trouble. After all, you don’t want to waste time and energy on a problem you don’t actually have. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Feelings of fatigue in your face
  • Discomfort and tenderness centered around your cheeks, ears, neck and jaw
  • Earache
  • Popping, grinding or clicking in your jaw
  • Being able to only partially open your jaw
  • Unexplained shifts in your facial expression
  • Change in your bite

If any of these sound familiar, you might be in need of TMJ relief.


Home Remedies

Know that there are steps you can take on your own at home to treat your disorder before calling in a head and neck professional. For instance, you can try giving your jaw joints a rest by only eating soft foods like you would after a wisdom tooth extraction. We also recommend alternating between using ice and heat packs to control any swelling you might have, as well as switching to pillows that offer good neck support.

Looking into over-the-counter medications and anti-inflammatories is another good option. Your daily stress intake could also cause the problem to worsen, which is why it’s a good idea to address and reduce stress in work as well as your daily life.


Professional TMJ Treatment Options

When home remedies don’t seem effective, it’s time to look into professional TMJ treatment options. This way, you don’t spend more time, money and energy than necessary on remedies that aren’t doing anything. If you find that you wake up with aching jaws, the problem may be that you clench your jaws in your sleep. If so, we can fit you with a custom bite guard to address your discomfort as well as keep your jaws in proper alignment. On a related note, you might also have sleep apnea, which most certainly isn’t doing your joint disorder any favors. Getting tested for sleep apnea and receiving treatment for it can help improve your quality of sleep and your health while addressing your TMJ disorder.

Professionals also know of muscle relaxation techniques that can improve the positioning of your jaws. One of the great things about muscle relaxation techniques is that you don’t have to come into our offices to do them. Instead, they can be done anywhere.

If you’re interested in learning more about TMJ disorders or treatments, information is just a phone call away at 586-473-1533. You can also send us an online form if you wish. Know that the Michigan Head & Neck Institute is committed to providing you with complete relief and comfort.

Signs & Symptoms of TMD Related to the Degree of Mouth Opening & Hearing Loss

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The following article discusses the connection between TMD, mouth opening, aural symptoms and hearing loss.  The instrumental role of TMD in otic symptomology has been a cause of debate for years.  Aural symptoms including tinnitus, otalgia, vertigo and dizziness are proven TMD symptoms, and there have been countless studies that have shown aural symptoms may not have an otic foundation.  Most patients suffering from TMD have gone to several ENT specialists in search of a cure for their “itchy ear” or other aural symptoms, when all along the problem was an underlying TMD jaw joint disorder. There are other common signs and symptoms of TMD.

The presence of structures that connect the middle ear with the temporomandibular joint and the common innervation of the masticatory muscles tell us why 85% of TMD patients report aural symptoms. Click here to read the full article.

Sleep Disordered Breathing Treatment

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Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is common in patients with heart failure (HF), and hypoxia and hypercapnia stimulate autonomic reflex responses. During an apneic episode, hypoxia and hypercapnia occur, triggering these involuntary reflex responses.  These can include muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) and ventilation. In patients with heart failure (HF), stimulation causes an increase in ventilation, MSNA, and vasoconstriction. Patients with HF and SDB have more severe muscle vasoconstriction during hypoxia and hypercapnia than HF patients without SDB. It remains unknown whether SDB directly contributes to increased HF morbidity and mortality, or whether it just marks HF severity.  In this study, you will read that HF patients with SDB have more pronounced skeletal muscle vasoconstriction than HF patients without SDB (during peripheral and central chemoreceptors stimulation). Please click here to read the full article about the SDB and heart failure connection.