Can TMJ Cause a Migraine?
If you are having severe migraine and you are not sure if it is due to TMJ, come to Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders and get yourself comprehensive treatment. For more information, call us or visit us online to book an appointment. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria/Dunlap IL, Lafayette IN, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX and Wausau WI.
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TMJ disorder, or dysfunction of the jaw joint, is a complex condition with many different causes and symptoms. One symptom associated with TMJ disorder is a headache or migraine; this is because the TMJ is connected to the temporalis muscles that run across the back of the head. When the jaw is under strain, it can stress this muscle and cause pain on the back of the skull, sides of the face, and by the temples.
Dysfunction of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) can arise from a variety of causes and can result in a diverse range of symptoms. One of the complications of TMJ disorder is muscle tightness, which can lead to headaches and migraines. For example, when the jaw is locked in a tight position, it can cause the muscles in the temples to become overstretched and irritated. This often results in a migraine, which is a throbbing, aching or dull pain that may occur on one or both sides of the head and/or temples. In fact, many people experience migraines as a result of tensions in the muscles of the face from TMJ problems. Sometimes, the muscles of the jaw or mouth can also be involved in the pain.
People with TMJ disorder experience a range of symptoms that affect the muscles, jaw and nerves; this may include any one, or all, of the following:
– Pain, tenderness and inflammation (face, jaw, neck)
– Limited movement in the jaw (“lockjaw”)
– Clicking or popping sensations in the jaw
– Teeth misalignment (overbite, underbite, crossbite)
– Stiff jaw muscles
– Shoulder pain
– Ringing in the ears
– Hearing loss
– Teeth clenching or grinding
Many TMJ headaches and other TMD symptoms can be effectively managed without medical intervention; in fact, most treatments involve lifestyle modifications or at-home remedies, including:
Stress Management — Because stress is a common trigger for both TMD and migraines, the importance of practicing self-care with ongoing stress management techniques cannot be overstated. These might include:
– Breathing exercises
– Mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as meditation
– Soothing hobbies, such as adult coloring books
– Getting enough sleep
Behavioral Changes — Making some simple changes to your day-to-day behavior, habits and diet can help to ease TMJ headache symptoms. Some of these minor changes can include:
– Eating softer foods
– Gently exercising the jaw
– Using hot or cold compresses
– Relaxing the jaw muscles
It is also important to avoid:
– Clenching your jaw
– Chewing on pens and other utensils
– Biting your nails
The length of time that a TMJ migraine lasts is different in every situation; it is largely dependent upon several factors, including:
– The cause of TMJ headaches
– How often they occur
– The treatments used
– The chronicity of the underlying problem
For example, TMJ headaches that are caused by overstrained muscles can last for minutes (in mild cases) to hours (in severe cases); they may be alleviated by gentle massaging of the temples and affected areas. Headaches caused by teeth grinding/jaw clenching can last as long as these actions continue (either consciously or subconsciously), and persist many hours after. Taking an over-the-counter pain-relieving medication, such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, can help to provide relatively quick relief from TMJ headaches.
If TMJ headaches are starting to affect your quality of life, the professionals at Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders can help. Call us today to book an appointment with our TMJ specialists, or visit one of our locations: we serve patients from all across the United States.