And family and friends and blah blah blah. But if it weren’t for this silly little plastic piece I picked up a few days ago, those same family and friends that I’m so thankful for would likely not feel the same about me come Thanksgiving. (Translation: I’ve been a bitch lately.)
For those who’ve been following this blog/know me in real life (which is basically the same group of people), you’re well aware of my struggles with my chronic back pain. However, one thing I haven’t talked much about are my near-constant headaches.
Why not, you ask? Because whining about my back pain is riveting enough. If I add in the headaches and the jaw pain and the teeth clenching, you’ll start wondering if I have a case of the WebMDs. (Which, trust me, anytime you have lots of headaches, do yourself a favor: DO NOT GOOGLE. I repeat: DO NOT GOOGLE. You’ll convince yourself you have brain cancer.)
For many years, I’ve had pretty consistent headaches. Like…more days with headaches than without headaches. Initially, I thought they were tied to hormones and that my birth control pills were making it worse. But when Alex and I decided to start a family and we pulled the goalie, the headaches continued.
Then I rationalized that it must be allergies, of course. No amount of Advil or Tylenol could touch them, and my sinuses felt sore and tender to the touch. I loaded up on Claritin and Sudafed and Mucinex, and sometimes it helped (because sometimes the headaches were, in fact, caused by allergies). But the overall tension remained.
Three years ago, I saw my Monterey dentist for the first time, and he noticed some wear and tear on my teeth.
Friendly Dick-Van-Dyke-looking dentist: Do you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep?
Me: For sure. I think it’s just a by-product of an overall anxious personality/self-induced stress.
Dick-Van-Dyke-alike: Yeah, that’s usually what it is. I highly recommend you get a guard to wear in your sleep. It’ll protect your teeth from further damage and help with any jaw pain or headaches you experience as a result.
Me: How much?
Me: I’ll definitely look into it. (Code for: nope)
Even after being told straight-out what the problem was, I continued to justify the headaches and pin them on something else. But finally, after a particularly stressful week that was also coupled with particularly debilitating headaches, I walked into my nearest Target and dropped $40 on a stupid mouth guard and popped it in my mouth two nights ago. Guess what?
No more flipping headaches.
This is a lesson to us all (but mostly to me). 1. Don’t Google your symptoms. 2. Listen to a professional when they tell you what’s going on, especially if he looks like Dick Van Dyke. 3. Never trust your instincts.