Not every headache is made the same. Patients who suffer from TMJ might experience one or more types of headaches as one of their symptoms of TMJ. Although there are several types of headaches linked to TMJ, three are more common than others. These include migraines, tension and referred pain headaches. Understanding the link between these types of headaches and TMJ can help you understand why you experience this condition.
Nearly 40% of people with TMJ also experience migraines. Migraines are much more severe than your traditional headache and are usually accompanied by painful symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, aura, light and sound sensitivity, and throbbing pain.
The link between migraines and TMJ are still somewhat unknown. Some migraines are linked to overstressed or overactive jaw muscles. This type of migraine occurs because the trigeminal nerve (the nerve that triggers migraines) has branches located near the jaw. Therefore, when the muscles become too tense or overactive, it can reach the nerve and then trigger a migraine.
The trigeminal nerve is often seen as the trigger point of migraines. The nerve controls the jaw muscles and is also the receiving point of pain signals. When the jaw muscles become overstimulated, the nerve can release calcitonin gene-related proteins (CGRP) which can also trigger migraines and pain conditions. With TMJ treatment, the muscles will relax which will prevent the nerve from becoming overstimulated and prevent CGRP from releasing. This may prevent migraines and other pain conditions ultimately.
Another common type of headache associated with TMJ disorders is tension headaches. Sore, tense muscles cause tension headaches. Most people with TMJ experience some level of muscle tension in the jaw. Once the tension occurs, it can spread up to the temples and cause a headache behind the eyes. The jaw muscles are the largest muscles in the head, and when they become tense, they can easily transfer the tension to muscles elsewhere in the head like over the neck or the back of the skull. Treating TMJ and relieving muscle tension can prevent tension headaches.
Referred Pain Headaches
The last most common headache associated with TMJ is referred pain headaches. Referred pain is pain felt in a different area of the body than the source of the pain. Referred pain occurs when the brain misinterprets the source of pain so it sends the pain to the wrong area of the body. Most people who experience referred headaches from TMJ usually have headaches for other reasons before TMJ developed.
Headache Relief with TMJ Treatment in Southlake, TX
If you experience headaches frequently, you might benefit from TMJ treatment. We first recommend getting a TMJ diagnosis from our TMJ dentist, Dr. Green, in Southlake, TX. If Dr. Green determines that you have TMJ, he will create a custom treatment plan to treat your problem. After a few weeks of treatment, most patients notice a difference in their frequency of headaches and migraines.
We highly encourage people to get checked for TMJ if they suffer from frequent headaches and migraines or have a current headache or migraine treatment plan that doesn’t work as well as they would like. Please contact StarImage Dental Boutique & Oral Surgery today by calling (817) 587-4566 to book a consultation.