Are you experiencing frequent migraines & headaches? The throbbing pain is more than you can take, but what could be causing the problem? While stress or your sinuses might be the first thing to come to mind, it might actually be the result of how your jaw is positioned and moving. If you are having a hard time understanding how an area in your lower facial structure could radiate pain to your head, read on to find out how the two are connected and what can be done to alleviate discomfort.
What is TMJ?
TMJ actually stands for temporomandibular joints, which are the hinges that exist on either side of your jaw. When working properly, they allow you to move your jaw in fluid motions, making it possible to laugh, speak, chew, and yawn.
However, when these hinges are not functioning as they should, this can lead to what is known as TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. When these joints develop problems, it can result in a stiff jaw, frequent headaches and migraines, and even teeth grinding.
How Can Jaw Pain Cause a Migraine or Headache?
Your temporomandibular joints have supporting muscles that live underneath your jaw, in your cheeks, and in various areas of your head. When TMD is present, the muscles that work closely with your jaw joints begin to tighten. This can happen when you grind or clench your teeth, or even yawn or begin to chew. The pain that can begin to develop will travel up through the skull, which ultimately results in headaches and/or migraines.
What Are Some Effective Treatment Solutions to Relieve Migraines?
No one wants to experience a headache or migraine for that matter, but when they occur, there are suggested tips that can help to relieve some of the discomfort, such as:
- Prescription medication, which can be prescribed by your doctor
- Chiropractic treatment to address areas of your head, neck, and shoulders
- Basic jaw stretching at home to slow the escalation of a headache
- Avoid chewing gum and instead, opt for mints
If it is TMJ/TMD disorder that you have, you can meet with your sleep medicine dentist to discuss treatment options. It may be necessary to reshape a few of your teeth to realign your bite or construct a custom-made mouthpiece to wear at night to prevent teeth grinding and relax the facial muscles.
Don’t let the extreme discomfort in your head continue to impact your daily life. Do something about it by addressing the problem areas of your jaw. By seeking help and receiving the proper treatment, you can go on living your best, pain-free life.
Dr. Keith Hollinger, DMD, attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst before going on to receive his dental degree at Tufts University. Since that time, he has devoted countless hours to pursuing additional training in sleep medicine, TMD therapy, orofacial pain, and orthodontics. When patients seek him for treatment of jaw pain or migraine headaches, Dr. Hollinger uses innovative methods to alleviate pain and discomfort and fix the existing problem. Find out how he can help you by visiting our website or calling (860) 430-5687.