Is TMJ Pain the Cause of Your Migraine?

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pen pointing to TMJ on skull | Idaho Falls TMJ pain

Do you suffer from constant headaches? Migraines? Jaw Pain? Or even a throbbing pain around your ear? If you are suffering from any one or all of these issues, they may be caused by your Temporomandibular Joint, the hinge that connects the lower jawbone to the skull. This joint is what allows you to speak, chew or yawn effectively. Your TMJ is supported by muscles that are located under your jaw, your cheeks, and the sides of your head, as well connecting with muscles in your shoulders and chest.

Problems with this joint are called TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and are usually caused by an uneven bite when the jaw is closed. Malocclusions or irregular positioning of the teeth can cause strain on the muscles, thus causing headaches or even migraines to occur.

According to Migraine Again, headaches caused by TMD are so frequent and severe that they are unfortunately often misdiagnosed and treated as a migraine without the doctor or specialist checking to see if there are any issues with the jaw or TMJ that could be causing these headaches.

Could It Be TMD?

Idaho Falls TMJ pain

Headaches that are caused by TMD  most often occur on the sides of the temples and are usually misdiagnosed as either tension headaches, sinus headaches or cluster headaches. According to this study by Colgate, “ Health care providers might inaccurately diagnose TMJ-related pain as a regular stress-induced headache when they could in fact be coming from a much more preventable source.” The Temporomandibular Joint.

Constant headaches and migraines with no diagnosis can be frustrating, if you suspect you may be suffering from migraines caused by TMJ pain in Idaho Falls, schedule a consultation with a TMJ specialist today. They will be looking out for symptoms such as:

  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Jaw locking and/or popping
  • Jaw clicking
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Facial pain and tenderness
  • Jaw pain
  • Ear pain/ ear aches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Ear pain
  • Bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding)

While the above symptoms can all step from TMD, it’s important to note that jaw pain can be caused by a variety of health conditions and/or issues. At your consultation for TMJ pain in Idaho Falls, your specialist will be able to correctly find the underlying issue. FInding the cause of your migraines is essential to finding a treatment plan that works for you. Other possible causes of jaw pain include:

  • Osteomyelitis – A disorder of an infection that affects the bones and tissues of the body.
  • Arthritis – Arthritis, mainly  osteoarthritis can cause the surface of bones to wear away.
  • Synovitis and Capsulitis – Both conditions cause the lining of the joint and/or the connecting ligament to become inflamed.
  • Dental Conditions
  • Sinus Conditions.
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Vascular Pain
  • Neurovascular Pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

How Are TMJ Pain in Idaho Falls and Migraines Related

Since TMJ pain can be caused when someone grinds their teeth (bruxism) or constantly clenches their teeth and jaw, it has a direct impact on people who suffer migraines. According to this article, there is research that points to the trigeminal nerve as playing an important role in the beginning of a migraine attack. This nerve sends messages to vessels and lining in the brain, that release chemicals that cause the pain and throbbing that is most commonly associated with a migraine. This nerve functions the same with the Temporomandibular Joint and jaw muscles that join the nerves in the neck. Jaw and neck problems are commonly a trigger point for migraine attacks because of the trigeminal nerve.

Because of this research, it makes sense  that Idaho Falls TMJ treatment could help to reduce the onset of migraines as well as, treat any additional pain associated with TMD. Before starting any type of TMJ pain treatment it’s important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. From there, they will be able to determine if TMJ treatment is a viable treatment plan for you. Finding out whether or not your frequent migraines or headaches are related to or caused by TMD could be the first step in treating your symptoms. TMJ treatment in Idaho Falls is designed to relieve the issues that arise from TMJ pain and can also effectively reduce headaches, migraines, as well as jaw and ear pain.

Idaho Falls TMJ Pain Treatment Options

man checking blood pressure - Idaho Falls TMJ pain

Comfort Sleep Solutions offers information regarding many treatment options. Some TMJ treatment plans include stress reduction, at home exercises, medications, therapy, and in more severe cases, surgery. While each case is unique, there are some general treatment options that should help to reduce both TMJ pain and Migraines. These include:

  • Reduce Stress – Stress and anxiety can be common triggers for TMJ pain in Idaho Falls, since people who are stressed tend to tense the muscles in their jaw more than people who are less stressed. And since tensing the jaw, neck and shoulder muscles can lead to pain in the TMJ this creates a domino effect that leads to migraines. Some people combat stress by exercising, meditating, journaling, taking a yoga class, etc.
  • Massage – On top of reducing stress, a non-invasive treatment option for treating both TMJ pain and migraines caused by TMD is regular massage of the jaw, neck and shoulder area. Massage helps to increase blood flow, reduce tension, and can reduce inflammation. Massage the TMJ (about three inches from the corner of your mouth) in circular motions.
  • At Home Exercises – At home jaw exercises, such as reciting vowels throughout the day (a,e,i,o, u) or even singing have been shown to be effective in treating TMJ pain. You can find other Idaho Falls TMJ treatment exercises, here.
  • Over The Counter (OTC) Pain Medication – If your TMJ pain is intense, your doctor may recommend you take an anti-inflammatory, over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation and help to alleviate some of the pain.
  • Stop Chewing Gum– If you suffer from TMJ pain, there is no point in aggravating the jaw muscles with activities like gum chewing. Instead of chewing gum, try using breath mints or mouthwash to keep your breath fresh.
  • TMJ Surgery – If you’ve followed the prescribed Idaho Falls TMJ pain treatment plans and nothing is working, your doctor and Comfort Sleep Solutions, may suggest that surgery for TMJ pain is an option for you. Surgery is usually the last resort, as recovery time can be long and it doesn’t always work.

Contact us today if you or a loved one is suffering from headaches and migraines and haven’t gotten any real answers about the cause of your migraines, yet. TMJ pain may be to blame.

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