Chronic Headaches: The Link Between Migraine and TMJ

Migraine is among the most common type of headaches experienced by many people. It tends to occur repeatedly, with pain that ranges from moderate to severe. Several things can trigger a migraine headache, including hormonal changes, stress, certain smells, and strenuous physical activity.

If you’ve been living with migraines for a while now, you probably think you already know everything about it. But did you know that a jaw problem can cause the chronic headaches you experience?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), a disorder often treated using braces, is a disorder involving the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). A study showed that TMD might increase the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Furthermore, TMJ disorder itself has also long been known to cause headaches.

If you’re searching for either migraine or TMD relief in Townsville, read on to learn more about the connection between the two health issues.

TMJ Headache: Causes and Symptoms

It is not yet known what exactly causes temporomandibular disorder. Teeth grinding and clenching, as well as arthritis, are seen as possible causes, but their direct connection to the disorder is yet to be found. However, it is known that TMD can cause several secondary issues, including headaches.

When your TMJ is compromised, you might feel pain not just in areas near your jaw, but in the surrounding tissues and muscles as well. Because the TMJ runs along the jaw and cheeks, the pain can spread to the adjacent areas, causing headaches similar to tension or migraine headaches.

To distinguish TMJ headaches from other types of headaches, you have to watch out for other TMD-related symptoms. These include the following:

  • Tightness in the jaw or facial muscles
  • Clicking noise when you open your mouth or chew
  • Reduced jaw movement
  • Bite or teeth alignment changes

TMJ Headache and Migraines: The Connection

Woman having headache

Now, it’s one thing to experience TMJ headaches and another to have migraines triggered by TMD.

TMJ headaches are different from migraine headaches. While the former can be mistaken as a tension headache, the latter manifests differently. Migraine headache is sometimes accompanied by increased sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and vomiting.

According to experts, apart from causing TMJ headaches, TMD may trigger migraines. However, this shouldn’t be taken to mean that TMD causes migraines.

Migraine is not a simple physiological problem. It has neurological roots. Meanwhile, TMD is considered as a musculoskeletal disorder.

So, what is the connection between TMD and migraines? This is what researchers think: Those who have a predisposition to experience migraine headaches may suffer from chronic migraine attacks if they have a TMJ disorder. Furthermore, TMD can also contribute to the severity of migraine headache pain.

A Combination of Treatments Can Help Alleviate TMD and Migraine Symptoms

Chronic migraines can affect your life negatively when not managed and treated accordingly. The debilitating pain, for instance, can keep you from performing activities at school, work, and home.

If you have been taking medications for your chronic migraine but getting minimal results, it won’t hurt to consult a dentist to see whether you have TMD. Who knows, maybe simply getting braces can help relieve you of the constant headaches.

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