Headaches are one of the most common and most disruptive symptoms of TMJ, a disorder of the jaw. TMJ headaches may be frequent, even daily, and may range in severity from annoying to disabling. They may be accompanied by other symptoms, or they may be the only symptom you notice. TMJ can cause tension headaches or trigger migraines.
If you suffer from recurring headaches and haven’t been able to get relief from other treatments, TMJ treatment has been shown to reduce their severity and frequency. To talk to us about your headaches in or around Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today.
How TMJ Causes Headaches
Headaches often seem mysterious in origin, and even your doctor may have trouble tracking down the original cause of your headaches. However, TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder, can cause them in several ways:
- Muscle tension
- Pinched or pressured nerves
- Referred pain
Because of the complex nature of your mouth system, it may sometimes be that all three causes work together to cause you migraines. TMJ treatment can address all these causes to reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches.
TMJ Tension Headaches
These are the most common type, affecting up to 80% of Americans. It is also the most common type of headache associated with TMJ. In this type, tension from your jaw muscles causes tension in other muscles that they work with. Most often, this results in pain around your temple. This pain can be very severe, sometimes as severe as migraines. And if you are susceptible to migraines, tension headaches can trigger them. Studies have shown that TMJ treatment can reduce their severity and frequency.
TMJ and Migraines
We don’t always know what causes migraines. In fact, recent research suggests that many of the traditional migraine triggers may not be to blame, after all. But we do know that they seem to start in the trigeminal nerve, one of the most important nerves for bringing data to the brain. This nerve runs by the temporomandiblar joint, and that TMJ can put pressure on or pinch this nerve. TMJ irritation of the trigeminal nerve can trigger migraines. Studies have shown that TMJ treatment can reduce the frequency, but not the severity, of migraines.
TMJ Referred Pain Headaches
Our nerves are not always specific. Sometimes they get confused about the true origin point of pain, and this makes us think we’re hurting one place when we’re actually hurting another. This is called “referred pain.” Sometimes, pain in our jaw or mouth is interpreted as headache pain. In fact, this is the currently accepted explanation for the phenomenon known as “brain freeze.” It feels like it’s pain in your head, but it’s actually mouth pain.
Experienced TMJ Dentists
Dr. Adam Hahn is trained in the science of neuromuscular dentistry, the discipline of analyzing how the nerves, muscles, bones, and teeth in your mouth work together as a system. He understands the principles that cause TMJ headaches and has helped many people in Columbus, SC to get relief from daily, disabling migraines.