TMD and Headaches

Last Updated: 24/05/2018

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TMD and Headaches
3.3 (66%) 10 votes

There are many factors which cause headaches and unfortunately due to how common headaches can be, the root cause is often hard to identify.

If you suffer from recurrent headaches from jaw pain, it is possible that the pain could be caused by Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) which essentially restricts the movement of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ).

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) attaches the lower jaw to the skull and allows you move your jaw in a range of motions to speak, chew, laugh etc. The TMJ is described as a joint that “combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disks, which normally keep the movement smooth” [ref MayoClinic.org]. If this is compromised in anyway then it can lead to jaw pain and effectively headaches.

How do we set a common headache and a TMD related headache?

It’s important to isolate whether your headache is caused by TMD or not, and an obvious sign is when a jaw activity triggers a headache. This can include chewing hard foods, opening your jaw wide or even long periods of talking.

There are many signs and symptoms of TMD with some of the more common including:

  • Facial Pain
  • Pain in the jaw or ear area
  • Headaches including pain or pressure behind the eyes
  • Jaw locking
  • Tenderness in the jaw muscles
  • Swelling of the face especially around the jaw area
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Individuals can also present with a reduced range of jaw motion often accompanied with variations in jaw motion and unusual sounds associated with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) such as jaw popping and jaw clicking. 

What is TMD - headaches

Why are TMD Headaches misdiagnosed?

There are two primary reasons why TMD headaches are commonly misdiagnosed or go entirely undiagnosed. The first of which is because TMD headache symptoms can be the same as common headaches for example a sinus headache, a tension headache or a migraine headache.

The second reason TMD headaches are so frequently mis / undiagnosed is due to the lack of training regarding the diagnosis and treatment for TMD. It can be felt that TMD falls under the remit of a dentist rather than a GP and so it’s possible that your GP may have to refer you to a dentist in order to accurately identify if your headache symptoms are actually TMD related. (Cerezen TMD Training Courses).

What to do if you think you have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)?

There are many home remedies you can use to ease the pain of TMD such as:

  • Heat from a heat pack
  • Ice for others can be a preferable
  • Soft or blended foods allow the jaw to rest temporarily.
  • Jaw Exercises such as slow, gentle jaw exercises may help increase jaw mobility.
  • Relaxation Techniques. 

You have taken the first step to educate yourself on the treatment for TMD, but if your TMD symptoms get worse with time, you should seek professional advice from a TMD specialist, your GP or your dentist.

They can then advise you on more professional TMD treatments available to you such as Bite-guards, Surgery, Botox or of course Cerezen ear pieces. Read all about Cerezen or should you wish to speak to a provider of Cerezen we have a list of Cerezen Providers

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TMD and Headaches
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