“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”— John Lennon
One day while working on a patient I noticed my head started to shake back and forth. Ever so slightly, but it began to shake and tremor. I continued working and finished my patient. I couldn’t help but wonder, what fresh hell is this? What was causing these tremors? This is a story about a dental hygienist with tremors.
Occasionally my head would tremor back and forth and at first I discarded it, thinking that it was nothing. Over time the head tremors became more frequent. Trying with all my might to stop my head from tremoring was futile. It was scary. I did not know what was going on. Maybe I just needed to relax.
Look into my eyes and tell me your story
It was during an iridology class when my vision of myself changed. We all stood up to examine each other’s eyes. Half the class lined up against a wall and the other half were the examiners. My examiner took her light and magnifying glass and raised it to my eye. Out of nowhere my head careened out of control, shaking back and forth, almost violently. I was completely taken by surprise and overtly embarrassed. What the hell was happening? This isn’t me. I’m a cool dude. Cool dudes don’t shake, not in public. I was humiliated by my body’s reaction. What was causing these tremors?
Apologizing to the examiner, I tried to play it off like it was a common occurrence, when inside I was ashamed. Deeply concerned, I finished the day in class trying to understand what had happened and why couldn’t I control my head. The scary part was not being in control.
Time went by and I slowly pushed that episode to the side, out of my mind. Foolishly I thought that if forgotten about, it would go away.
It didn’t go away and only got worse. Increasingly, while working on patients, my head began to shake. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I began to experience sharp head and neck pain on the left side. I tried desperately to control it, but I couldn’t. When patients began to notice, the end of my clinical career became imminent.
The struggle is real
The struggle to control the shaking in my head was increasingly constant. The pain in my neck and head was getting unbearable. It was becoming a problem that I couldn’t ignore anymore.
I wondered if the onset of tremors was due to mercury exposure. This is not a popular subject among dental professionals but as a student of holistic health, we study EVERYTHING. A book I had been reading by a holistic dentist, It’s All in Your Head: The Link Between Mercury Amalgams and Illness by Dr. Hal A. Huggins, wrote:
“On a really basic level, the ways in which mercury attacks the body can be identified in five categories. The categories are: neurological, cardiovascular, collagen, immunological, and miscellaneous.”
Do heavy metals cause tremors?
I asked several dentists their opinion on mercury exposure and they collectively said it was baloney and discarded it. One dentist told me that since the mercury in an amalgam filling is contained and not free flowing, it is completely safe.
On March 3, 2020 the United States Environmental Protection Agency posted that metallic mercury mainly causes health effects when inhaled as a vapor where it can be absorbed through the lungs. Symptoms of prolonged and/or acute exposures include:
- Emotional changes (such as mood swings, irritability, nervousness, excessive shyness);
- Neuromuscular changes (such as weakness, muscle atrophy, twitching);
- Disturbances in sensations;
- Changes in nerve responses; and/or
- Poor performance on tests of mental function.
Are composite fillings better than amalgam?
There are differing opinions on this debate as well. As a dental hygienist, I keep that opinion to myself (it saves me a lot of grief). If you are interested in having your amalgams changed out for composite fillings, you might want to visit a biological dentist . It’s a process that biological dentists excel at.
T-boned for lunch
As any gripping tale goes, there is always a twist. One day on my way back to work after a lunch break, I was T-boned by a car going 35 miles per hour into the driver’s side of my car. My car was left turned the wrong way, front end of my car was all over the street and I was dazed. It was the twist that sealed the fate of my already damaged neck.
At the suggestion of a friend, I made an appointment with a chiropractor for the pain. I had never gone to one but many of my colleagues had talked about taking this route for neck and back pain. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good experience for me.
The chiropractor had me lay down on my stomach and gave me what he called an “adjustment” but I called it an assault. When finished with me I was in more pain. This continued after every treatment. My pain wasn’t getting better, in fact it felt worse. I decided to confide in him and tell him that the treatments were causing me pain and discomfort. His response startled me:
“Quit your whining and put your big girl panties on. Do you whine like this to your husband?”
The sting his words left was like a sharp slap to the face! I promptly fired him and did what most people do and left a review on Google.
Seeing my primary physician was the next logical next step. I left his office with a referral to a neurologist for a definitive diagnosis. I made the appointment to the neurologist, an appointment 3 months out; nevertheless I was eventually going to get a diagnosis on what was causing the tremors.
Tremors: What fresh hell is this?
As scared as I was, I couldn’t wait until my appointment date. I wanted my life back but little did I know that my life was never going to be the same. It was about to get real challenging.
I went to the neurologist and he did some tests on me and looked at me in the eye and smiled and softly said, “You have Essential Tremors.”
A study found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information by Zesiewicz, et al., 2010 on Essential Tremors reports:
ET is more prevalent than Parkinson’s disease (PD) or Alzheimer disease (AD), and there is no world population that is immune to its development.4 The age- and gender-adjusted prevalence of ET is estimated to be 3 to 4 per 1000, with an annual incidence of 23.7 per 100,000.5 The incidence of ET rises with increasing age,4 although the disease can also affect children.6 Approximately 4% of adults 40 years of age and older are affected by ET. A family history of ET appears to correlate with younger reported age of tremor onset.7 While there is no conclusive evidence that ET increases an individual’s risk of mortality, one longitudinal prospective study found a small increased risk of death in ET patients.8 However, further research is needed to corroborate this finding.
As a traditional naturopath, I suspected that there was more to this than what I was reading, as I mentioned before. I had developed ET in my mid forties, after menopause and after years of practicing in dentistry. Did menopause play a role? Did dentistry? I didn’t handle stress well. Often blowing up and losing my temper. I was miserable practicing under a dentist that had no value for me as an employee or a person. My mind, body and spirit weren’t connected and I believe this disconnection manifested into this neurological dis-ease. Just a speculation.
Botox, in the head?
The diagnosis was just the beginning of a long road of experiences and awakenings. Moreover, medical doctors suggest botox injections in the head to prevent tremors, but the side effects are not being able to hold my head up because it would be numb from the botox. Not a good idea and I passed on that.
There were mentions of DBS (deep brain stimulation) surgery. Reminding me of something from Frankenstein. I chose not to go that route either.
I resolved to take medication which helped with the tremors but it also dulled me and I became a shell of myself. All I could do was stare and sleep. I was unhappy. The cures were worse than the condition I had.
Over time, I slowly began to accept my new normal. So what, I resigned, my head shakes. I noticed other people tremor too. My hair dresser told me that a lot of people tremor. I am comforted that I am not alone.
Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow!’The Talmud
I had been listening. I had been taking notes. Instinctively I knew what I needed to do. My 1,500 plus hours of holistic studies prepared me well for you ET. I wasn’t going to let this get the best of me and so I began my journey to help myself get well. There have been logs in the road and many boulders to move, but knowing the path I needed to follow helped me to remain strong and persevere.
Three steps to health
The first step was reducing stress. For me that meant changing my professional life. Dentistry is stressful and I needed to leave clinic. I went back to school and got my bachelors degree, which opened up doors outside of clinic.
The second step was exercising. Exercising releases Nitric Oxide in the body. Nitric Oxide lowers the highs: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and raises the lows: pain relievers, antidepressants and anti-inflammatory medication, and regulates blood clotting. Exercising increases blood flow throughout the body for better awareness, energy and a sense of peace and calm.
Third, eat a variety of healthy foods: foods that are alive like vegetables and fruit. Eat less foods like meat, old oils and simple carbs. These foods can zap your energy and shorten your lifespan.
Being a dental hygienist and a health advocate I invite you to reserve a copy of my e-book, Healthy Body, Healthy Mouth, to help you get started on your health journey. It is chock full of good, healthy meals that are easy to prepare and will give you energy not zap your energy.
Days speed by and sometimes we don’t realize that we are headed for a car crash, metaphorically speaking. A healthy lifestyle really is key to strengthening our weaknesses.
No matter what life throws our way, we have the power to change the outcome. Believe in yourself and your infinite wisdom. It will never lead you astray.
Love and light:)