Headaches are one of the most common and generalized symptoms. They can be associated with dozens if not hundreds of illnesses and simple deviations from your daily routine. This means that sufferers often try many different treatments before finding one that works for them. At the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, we strive for a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, using an interdisciplinary perspective that considers a broad range of possible causes. If we can help you, we will. If not, we will refer you to someone who can.
Types of Headaches
Headaches come in many different forms, but most fall into four different categories:
Most headaches can be associated with TMJ, though, as we noted, there are many different potential causes, so it’s important to explore multiple explanations.
Tension Headaches and TMJ
Tension headaches are most common, accounting for 80% or more of headaches. They range in severity from minor to moderate, though in rare instances they can be severe. They tend to be diffuse, and are often described as feeling like a tight compression on the head.
They are related to TMJ because when the jaw muscles work inefficiently or are in a constant state of stress, they can put pressure on your head (the temporal muscle, one of your muscles of mastication, is anchored just behind your eye), or they can pass their stress on to other muscles, which then put tension on your head.
Migraines and TMJ
Migraines come in many different forms, most of which are characterized by extreme pain and often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to lights and/or sounds.
One of the most common trigger points for migraines is the trigeminal nerve and its branches. The trigeminal nerve runs right by the temporomandibular joint and its branches are interlaced with the muscles of mastication. Adverse jaw stress can put pressure on the trigeminal nerve or its branches, triggering migraines.
TMJ treatment is often successful at dramatically reducing migraines, but usually won’t eliminate them completely.
Cluster headaches are named because they tend to occur in clusters, with a number of short, intense headaches occurring soon one after another for a short period of time, days or, rarely, weeks. They often occur at night, often in the early hours of the morning.
These aren’t normally associated with TMJ, but they are often associated with sleep apnea.
If you live in the greater Detroit area and want to learn whether TMJ might be the cause of your pain, please call (248) 825-8277 or email us the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness in Troy, MI today for an appointment.
Sinus headaches are caused by swelling and infection of the sinuses, which are hollow spaces inside the skull that are connected to our airways. They are treated by treating the infection, which eliminates congestion and swelling, and, therefore, pain.
However, most of what people label as “sinus headaches” are actually something else. Many of them are tension headaches, caused by tense jaw and skull muscles that overlie the sinuses. Others are migraines caused by pressure on the trigeminal nerve, which carries pain signals from the region.
Finally, many so-called sinus headaches are actually toothaches in the upper teeth, which are referred to the sinuses by the complex overlap of nerves in the face.
Self Screening: Are You at Risk for TMJ?
TMJ is commonly misdiagnosed. Use our custom self-assessment to determine if you should talk to a TMJ dentist about your symptoms.
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