If you suffer from frequent migraine headaches, there are a number of potential triggers and causes that could be contributing to your pain. However, one of the lesser known possibilities is TMJ, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. While there are many symptoms linked to TMJ, persistent headaches are likely to be one of the most disruptive on a daily basis. Learn here how TMJ can cause migraine headaches and what you can do about it.
TMJ is a disruption of the normal function of the muscles and joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. When these joints are exposed to unusual stressors, pain is usually the first symptom. TMJ might start due to braces, or to more organic causes such as stress or poor posture. Once TMJ begins, symptoms tend to get worse over time. Ultimately, what begins as pain while chewing tougher food or gum can progress to a locked jaw when left untreated.
The TMJ headache link
TMJ is made worse through a clenching or tightening of the jaw muscles. People who are under stress or who have the beginnings of TMJ for other reasons are also those most likely to grind or clench their jaws in their sleep. This also leads to poorer sleep, which can cause headaches in its own right. Ultimately, once TMJ has occurred, the jaw joint is misaligned with the teeth and the skull. This puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels, causing constriction. As blood vessels and nerves are constricted, this causes the foundation for a headache to begin. As the pain worsens, the sympathetic nervous system responds by further decreasing blood flow, which can cause the onset of a true migraine headache.
Treat migraines by treating TMJ
If you suspect your migraine headaches may be linked with sensitivity or pain in your jaw caused by TMJ, helpful treatments are available. The first thing to do is to visit your dentist to get evaluated for TMJ. If you are diagnosed with TMJ, simple changes in posture, the use of stress reduction techniques and a bite guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw can all be easily provided. This will also set you back on the path to a migraine-free life again.
Is TMJ causing your migraines?
TMJ is a complex disorder and it can be difficult to diagnose. If you suspect that TMJ is at the root of your headache pain, take my simple TMJ questionnaire and I’ll reply with a free, no-obligations diagnostic recommendation. Identifying the cause of your headaches is the first step in finding the right treatment to eliminate your pain.