Are you aware that TMJ or your jaw could be the cause of your headache? TMJ refers to the hinge that connects your jaw to the skull. This part allows you to laugh, talk, and chew. It also enables your jaw to move down and up and from one side to another. If something is wrong with this hinge, there are chances that it can result in various symptoms, including a severe headache. Here we will explore what a TMJ headache is, the causes, and how to treat this issue.
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What is a TMJ Headache?
TMJ headache refers to the pain felt in the head due to problems with the joint that connects your jaw to the skull. You can feel the pain from this condition anywhere from your neck to your forehead. The throbbing headache felt in these areas can be severe enough to interrupt your daily life.
What are the Causes of TMJ Headache?
There is a great chance you have been suffering from a throbbing headache for years without knowing that the TMJ issue caused it. Various factors can lead to this condition. These factors include:
- Locking of the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This can happen when you frequently clench or grind your teeth during sleep or awake. It can also occur after you have suffered an injury to this area, and then it heals in such a way that it locks up, which causes pain and stiffness when moving or opening and closing your mouth.
- Tightening of the muscles around this hinge because of stress and anxiety leads to spasms and tension in this area.
- Tightening of the muscles in your neck and shoulders leads to headaches that are felt in these areas.
- Tension in the muscles and ligaments that connect your lower jaw to your skull also leads to headaches felt all over the head.
The pain you feel when you suffer from a TMJ headache results from the joint itself and surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The pain caused by this condition is often described as throbbing or pulsating because it radiates through these areas of the head and neck.
Association of Headaches and TMJ
Many sufferers of headaches and migraines also suffer from TMJ. The same muscles and ligaments affected by TMJ are also affected by tension headaches and migraines. This is why so many people who suffer from throbbing headache will also experience pain in their jaw area, particularly when suffering from headaches for a long time.
The pain you feel in your jaw results from tightening the joint’s muscles. This tightening can cause a lot of problems for your upper body, including the following:
- Misalignment of your teeth
- Dislocation or shifting of the back molars
- Clenching and grinding of teeth at night or during stressful periods throughout the day
- Suffering an injury to this area and then healing in such a way that it locks up or causes misalignment
- Stress-related tension in these areas leads to spasms and pain in your jaw joint, especially when under stress or anxiety.
How Does TMJ Affect Your Headaches?
There are a lot of different theories about how TMJ affects headaches, but a lot of experts believe that the way it affects your headaches is through muscle tension. When you suffer from headache and jaw pain, you will often experience muscle tension in the head and neck area. You may also experience tightening in your jaw muscles and ligaments, which can cause problems with your TMJ. This is why so many people who suffer from headaches also suffer from jaw pain. The same muscles and ligaments are affected by both conditions, so the other often follows suit when one is affected.
When you experience muscle tension in your jaw area, it can lead to migraines or tension headaches because of its stress on the surrounding areas. Your jaw joint itself can become very painful when you have muscle spasms in this area because there is not much room for movement within this joint.
Symptoms of TMJ Headache
One of the most common symptoms of TMJ headache is jaw pain. You may also experience pain in your temples, behind your eyes, or in the back of your head. Some people will experience facial numbness or tingling, which can signify that they are experiencing a migraine. Other symptoms include:
- Headaches felt on both sides of your head
- Migraines accompanied by a throbbing sensation
- Pain in the area behind the eyes is sometimes accompanied by pressure in the eyes.
- Jaw joint pain is often described as a dull ache or throbbing sensation. This pain can be exacerbated when chewing or biting.
How to Treat TMJ
There are many ways that you can treat TMJ and the associated headaches. The first step is to visit a dentist or doctor specializing in TMJ and learn about available treatment options. One way to treat TMJ is through Orthodontics, which involves moving and realigning teeth to relieve pressure on the jaw joint. Another option is physical therapy that focuses on posture, muscle relaxation, and stress reduction techniques. You can wear some splints at night while you sleep to help reduce pressure on your muscles and joints. They can also prescribe some medications to help reduce pain and inflammation.
How to Treat TMJ Headaches
There are many ways of treating TMJ headache or TMJ headache relief. Discussed below are three ways to treat TMJ migraine.
You can make certain lifestyle changes to help relieve the pain and pressure associated with TMJ. One way to help relieve pressure on the joint is by changing the position of your head and neck. If you are lying down or sitting in a poor position, it puts pressure on the jaw joint, which may cause pain. To help alleviate strain on your jaw, try to sit up straight while you sleep, and do not use a pillow between your head and neck when sleeping. You can also try to stand up more often throughout the day. Keep your back straight and avoid leaning over to pick something up off the floor or table when standing up.
Another way that you can change your lifestyle habits is by using ice packs on your neck at night before going to bed. This will help reduce inflammation in muscles that may be causing pain and swelling of tissues around your jaw joint. You can also take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkillers to help reduce headache and jaw pain.
See also Botox for TMJ in Los Angele, CA
Suppose you have tried making changes to your lifestyle or limiting the amount of time you spend in an uncomfortable position but still have persistent headache and jaw pain. In that case, you may want to consider seeing a TMJ specialist in Los Angeles. A TMJ dentist in Los Angeles will evaluate your jaw and surrounding tissues to determine the best treatment for your condition. They will also be able to rule out other causes for your discomfort, such as a herniated disk or arthritis. They may recommend that you try physical therapy to strengthen the jaw joint and neck muscles. You may also need to adjust how often you chew hard foods and swallow food to put less pressure on the joint. Another option is wearing a mouth guard at night while sleeping. This will help support your lower jaw and prevent it from moving forward into a painful position.
Are you wondering how to treat TMJ with surgery? If the pain in your jaw is not relieved by these non-surgical treatments, or if the discomfort interferes with your ability to eat and speak, then it may be time to consider a TMJ surgery. There are two types of TMJ surgeries: a Mandibular advancement procedure and a Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) osteotomy. The TMJ specialist in Los Angeles uses an arthroscope to insert tiny surgical instruments into your mouth in the mandibular advancement procedure. The surgeon then makes small cuts in your upper jawbone that allow for the growth of your lower jawbone. This allows your lower jawbone to move forward into a more comfortable position. The surgeon will also make cuts in the bones that connect the lower jawbone on either side of your ear so that they are moved back toward each other by 1/2 inch (1 cm). These cuts help to realign the bones and muscles surrounding your joint so that they can no longer move forward into an abnormal, painful position.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) osteotomy procedure is similar to the mandibular advancement procedure. However, in this procedure, the TMJ dentist in Los Angeles makes a cut in your lower jawbone that extends into your ear to realign your lower jawbone. This allows for greater movement of your lower jawbone into a more comfortable position. After this surgery, you will be able to chew and speak more comfortably than before, and you should be able to eat larger amounts of food without experiencing pain.
If you have temporomandibular joint pain, you may also want to consider taking some medications as a way to relieve your pain. Pain medications help relieve pain and reduce inflammation by blocking the effects of substances that cause pain, such as serotonin, released in response to injury or inflammation.
The most common pain medications used for TMJ include:
- Ibuprofen: This medicine is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that you take to relieve inflammation and pain. You can use ibuprofen for pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism and for TMJ migraine, menstrual cramps, toothaches, and other types of pain. The recommended dose of ibuprofen ranges from 600 mg to 1,000 mg per day.
- Naproxen: This is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve pain and inflammation. You can use it for TMJ headache relief and other types of pain.
- Celecoxib: This medicine is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has analgesic benefits in addition to the NSAID effects. You can use it in people who have TMJ migraine.
- Opioids: Opioids are a class of drugs that include morphine, codeine, and heroin. These drugs have powerful pain-killing effects. You can use them to relieve severe pain and to manage chronic pain. Opioids are often used in people with cancer or other chronic medical problems that cause severe pain. Opioids can be given by mouth, injection, or through a patch placed on the skin.
- Acetaminophen: This medicine helps to relieve pain and inflammation. You can use acetaminophen for pain associated with TMJ migraine, toothaches, menstrual cramps, and other types of pain. The recommended dose of acetaminophen ranges from 650 mg to 1,000 mg per day.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression by affecting chemicals in the brain related to mood and behavior. They also help in TMJ headache relief.
Contact the Experts
In conclusion, TMJ headache is a very common painful condition. Various reasons cause them, and the most common is stress and jaw misalignment. To eliminate TMJ pain and headaches, you have to address the cause. Remember that you cannot live life without your teeth and jaw, so you need to ensure that they are in proper alignment. If you have any questions about TMJ or other dental issues and treatments, call us and schedule a consultation meeting with one of our TMJ dentists in Los Angeles.