As the old saying goes, "No pain, no gain," but that’s far from the truth for people living with chronic pain. In fact, more than 100 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain. Debbi was a part of that statistic. She battled chronic headaches, jaw pain and clicking in her jaw when she ate. The pain impacted her quality of life, disrupting her sleep habits and affecting her mood. Even with her symptoms, Debbi was hesitant to seek treatment, but that all changed when the pain became unbearable.
"I put off [getting treated] for quite a while," Debbi said. "Then, my jaw got stuck "out of joint" a few times which was incredibly painful. So I talked with both my regular dentist and my primary care physician about what I could do and talked with my insurance company to see what may or may not be covered. I got a referral from my regular dentist for a doctor in Seattle which was too far away, so I started doing my own research on the internet."
Debbi’s online search eventually led her to Dr. Amy Norman.
"I found Dr. Norman and knew a couple of people that had been to see her, so I scheduled a consultation," Debbi said.
For Debbi, the consultation was the deciding factor. Dr. Norman and her team answered all of her questions and provided detailed information about the recommended procedures. After the initial consultation, Debbi was onboard.
"I loved her approach, and I felt listened to," Debbi said. "And to be honest, a large part was that gut feeling. I liked the atmosphere, the care and concern and the honest conversation regarding costs and results. I was also really interested in the science behind the treatments, and Dr. Norman was happy to explain it to me."
Dr. Norman determined that much of Debbi’s chronic pain was linked to her bite and untreated TMJ, so she developed a treatment plan to address these issues. Because Dr. Norman understands the importance of a healthy relationship among the teeth, jaw joints and head and neck muscles, she recommended several options to treat Debbi’s dental issues. Debbi ultimately elected to move forward with a multi-disciplined approach, opting for a combination of neuromuscular dentistry coupled with traditional orthodontics.
"I had no idea that an incorrect bite could cause headaches and shoulder and neck pain every single day," Debbi said. "Between the initial measurements they took and the stress on my muscles caused by my bite, the treatment plan has been fascinating to me. The science behind it is just amazing. While undergoing TENS treatments, I was so relaxed after it. I thought I was getting a spa treatment.
Undergoing treatment with Dr. Norman has had a tremendous impact on Debbi’s life. While Debbi is currently still undergoing treatment, she couldn’t be more pleased with the results thus far. Not only is she pain-free, but she reports looking younger.
"I didn’t realize how much my bite was affecting my appearance," Debbi said. "I had several close friends comment on it as well. I’m feeling so much better overall. The pain is gone, and people say I look younger. Pretty good deal!"
Living with chronic pain was more than Debbi could take, and after several scary episodes of her jaw dislocating, she’d had enough. So she enlisted the help of Dr. Noman to develop a treatment plan that would tackle her dental issues head on. Almost two years into her treatment plan, Debbi is looking and feeling better than ever.
"I don’t wake up with headaches every morning," Debbi said. "I didn’t realize the level of pain that I dealt with on a daily basis until it was gone. I’m amazed at how well this has worked for me.
While her treatment plan has taken time, Debbi doesn’t regret it at all. In fact, she encourages patients in similar situations to invest the time and money into a plan that works for them.
"If you feel it’s right for you, do it," Debbi said. "It’s not a quick progress. It’s been almost two years, but the investment in your health is well worth the time and money."