For many of us, headaches are just a fact of life. We get them when we’re stressed, when we haven’t had enough sleep, or when we drink too much caffeine. But for some people, headaches can be a daily—and debilitating—occurrence. If you suffer from chronic headaches, you may be wondering what could be causing them. One potential culprit is TMJD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. Here’s what you need to know about the link between TMJ and headaches.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints, which are the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. TMJ disorder is a condition that causes pain and dysfunction in these joints. Some people with TMJ disorder also experience symptoms like clicking or popping noises when they move their jaw, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and pain in the neck or shoulders.
How Does TMJ Cause Headaches?
There are a few different ways that TMJ can cause headaches. First, when the temporomandibular joints are not functioning properly, they can refer pain to other areas of the head, including the forehead and temples. Additionally, the muscles that control jaw movement are also connected to the muscles in your head and neck. When these muscles are tight or in spasm, they can trigger headaches. Finally, people with TMJ disorder often clench or grind their teeth (a condition known as bruxism), which can also lead to tension headaches.
How Can I Tell if My Headaches Are Caused by TMJ?
There are a few telltale signs that your headaches might be caused by TMJ. One is if you notice that your headaches tend to be worse in the morning or after you’ve been clenching or grinding your teeth during the night. Another is if you find that massaging your temples or jaw seems to provide some relief from your headache pain. If you’re unsure whether or not TMJ is causing your headaches, it’s always best to consult with a dentist or doctor who can help diagnose the problem.
What Can I Do About It?
If you think that your headaches may be related to TMJ disorder, there are a few things you can do to find relief. First, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to reduce inflammation and ease the pain. You can also apply ice packs or warm compresses to the side of your face to help relax the muscles. If these measures don’t work, you may need to see a doctor or dentist for more specific treatment. In some cases, this may involve wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding. Physical therapy exercises may also be helpful in reducing symptoms.
In some cases, more invasive treatment may be necessary. This can include things like corticosteroid injections or surgery. One type of surgery that is sometimes used to treat TMJ disorder is arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a small camera is inserted into the joint through a tiny incision. This allows the oral surgeon to see the joint and make any necessary repairs.
TMJ Treatment in Phoenix
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, don’t suffer in silence. Schedule a consultation with one of our qualified oral surgeons to discuss treatment options. We will help you get relief from your headaches and get back to living your life. Call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form to schedule an appointment.