How Are Headaches Associated with Jaw Pain?
Jaw pain and headaches are common. TMJ could be causing your pain. Learn more about treatments for jaw pain, headaches and TMJ today! Contact our team at Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders or visit us online to book an appointment. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria/Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
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Jaw pain is bad enough but when paired with a headache it can be downright excruciating. Grinding teeth is a very common cause of jaw pain and headaches but there are other reasons too. The joint of the jaw is a hinge, connecting the jaw to the skull. If something is not lining up properly, or there is a ‘clicking’ feeling while talking and/or chewing, this could mean that there is a problem with jaw alignment.
Chewing hard or chewy food can be a factor as well. Stress and lack of sleep can contribute too. Tight facial or jaw muscles, even restriction to the jaw’s natural movement can cause pain as well.
Jaw pain can be extremely uncomfortable and accompanied by a headache. Sinus and tension headaches are known to contribute to jaw pain as well as plugged ears, or a sinus infection. All of which are reported to be causes of jaw pain too. Cluster headaches typically cause pain around and behind the eyes but can often radiate out to the jaw.
Tooth infections can also cause a sore jaw by causing inflammation and headaches affecting the whole skull, making the jaw flare up as well. Conditions such as TMJ, a jaw misalignment, can all cause jaw pain. There is also the possibility of an unnoticed or undiagnosed injury to the skull or jaw. Maybe even an old injury that has since flared up again. If questioning the type of headache, it is always best to talk to a healthcare provider to rule out any other possible factors or conditions.
Temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorder are a classification of conditions that often cause headaches and jaw pain. Studies also show that headaches can cause TMJ symptoms to be affected as well. It is always best to refer to your health care provider to be certain, but there are some symptoms of TMJ that you yourself can look for at home.
Symptoms such as a ‘clicking’ feeling or sound of the jaw when opening your mouth to eat or to yawn can be an indicator. Discomfort while eating hard or chewy foods is another great clue. Try reducing the consumption of such foods and see if that makes a difference. Grinding teeth during sleep or during the day due to stress will also cause discomfort, so getting a nighttime mouthguard may help reduce pain and inflammation too.
When it comes to TMJ headaches, safe and reliable treatment plans need further studying, but in the meantime, there are many things one can do to reduce frequency and severity of headaches associated with jaw pain.
Simple things like lifestyle changes, including the avoidance of eating hard or chewy foods. Reducing stress works great too by lowering one’s desire to grind their teeth either while awake or while sleeping. Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Aleve or Advil are reported to work as well. Additionally, some herbal supplements, such as curcumin turmeric tablets or tea are a great method too.
A jaw massage can increase blood flow to the jaw causing a relaxation effect, reducing the chances of grinding the teeth. Jaw exercises throughout the day are useful tools. Icing of the jaw or applying a heating pad have also shown to be useful treatments easily done from home as well.
Taking a hot bath before bed, listening to relaxing music, can all be useful in helping you to relax, reducing the chances of grinding of the teeth during sleep. Practicing meditation and deep breathing exercises throughout the day, and at night, helps the entire body to relax and take in more oxygen. This will allow for a better quality and longer duration of sleep, which reduces the chances of grinding the teeth while in a dream state and allows the body to heal quicker and more efficiently – all contributing to a better overall quality of life.
Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders offers treatments for jaw pain and headaches.