Is TMJ Causing My Headaches?

woman with headache

Many people suffer from headaches, and this is not always a cause for alarm. However, it is important to realize that just because they are common does not mean that they should be ignored. Tension headaches are often a symptom of an underlying problem. If you suffer from regular headaches, it is important to find out the cause. There could be more that meets the eye behind the headaches. Knowing the cause will help you to seek the best solution.

According to studies, many people who suffer from recurring tension headaches have underlying TMJ. Many people who suffer from chronic tension headaches have not been tested for TMJ. The TMJ is the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. This joint enables the jaw to move from side to side and up and down. It allows you to talk, chew, and laugh. You can find out if your jaw is causing your headaches.

Causes of TMJ Headaches

While it is not known exactly what causes TMJ, it may be due to the action of regular teeth grinding. There are no statistics to determine the number of people who suffer from TMJ headaches. The TMJ muscles run along the cheeks and jaw, and they can sometimes cause pain or headaches. When the muscles tense up, the pain can spread to other muscles along the cheeks and sides. The pain can travel to the top of the head, causing headaches. TMJ headaches can also be caused by issues related to joint hypermobility, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.

Symptoms of TMJ Headaches

There are different types of headaches, and understanding the symptoms can help to identify TMJ headaches. Some symptoms include tight jaw and facial muscles and jaw or facial pain. Restricted jaw movement and changes in the bite are common symptoms. Experiencing a clicking sound in the jaw can also be a symptom. Additional symptoms include earaches, difficulty biting or chewing, fibromyalgia, and tender jaws. The headaches usually appear on one or more parts of the head and face. They usually feel much like tension headaches.

Treatment of TMJ Headaches

Treating TMJ headaches requires coming up with a plan that includes making lifestyle changes. Changing some habits or behaviors can provide much-needed relief. To protect your jaw, avoid eating chewy or hard foods. Reducing stress in your life can help you to avoid habits like jaw clenching. You should also try to avoid jaw movements such as those associated with gum chewing or wide yawning. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can help to reduce headaches and jaw pain. Icing the jaw and using jaw exercises can also provide some relief from the pain.

If your symptoms persist even after making the lifestyle changes, it is a good idea to visit a doctor. The doctor can prescribe treatments that include stronger medications. Other treatment options include using stabilization splints or bite guards. These can provide a temporary solution. You can also get surgical treatment for more permanent results. Orthodontic procedures can help to change your bite.

To learn more about TMJ, visit Today’s Family Dental at our office in Tampa, Florida. You can also call (813) 370-1700 to schedule an appointment today.