Jane, a 33 year old civil servant, transferred to working with the CSA – a high stress job, with Jane being regularly subjected to aggressive clients. The aggression was focused down the telephone – Jane never met any of the clients. Normally, relaxed and easy going with an exemplary sickness record, Jane began to go home with a headache which she described as being like “someone had put a tight band around my head”. Over the next three months Jane’s headaches increased in severity, lasted for longer and began to cause problems in her marriage. Her partner insisted that she should go to the doctor. Ever the professional civil servant, Jane insisted that things would settle down when she had got into the swing of her new job. She treated herself with Ibuprofen – an over the counter pain killer, but found that she was needing to take more pain relief as each week went by. Her work began to suffer and instead of arriving home looking forward to her evening, Jane began to look forward to a large glass of wine to mask the pain she was in. Jane did consult her doctor who prescribed a more powerful pain killer.

One of Jane’s work colleagues told her about tooth related headaches – she had read a leaflet in one of our member’s waiting rooms. Jane was examined and a small plastic deprogrammer made for her to wear at home or in the car. All of Jane’s pain went in 30 minutes but came back over a few hours when she took the deprogrammer out. The diagnosis having been confirmed, a special plastic block was prescribed which the patient could wear at work, home or when driving. Four months later, minute changes were made into how Jane’s teeth fitted and slid against each other. This procedure was painless and required no injections. Jane has not had any headaches since 1996.

Jane was clearly living within her normal limitations in her previous job. The addition of significant stress from her new job was the factor which pushed Jane into developing her headaches. Jane had three choices. Either change job, have occlusal treatment or both. Jobs don’t grow on trees any more so treatment was appropriate and sensible. The final outcome was a happy patient who has since recommended several of her colleagues to our member.