TMJ May Be Causing Your Chronic Headaches

Are you suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), which you suspect may be causing your chronic headaches? Indra Quagliata, DDS and the team at IQ Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can help get rid of your TMJ pain and help get you back headache-free.

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your skull to your jaw. This hinge enables your jaw to move up and down and side to side, allowing you to talk and chew.

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ) is a collection of painful conditions involving the jaw joints and the surrounding muscles. The condition, which causes jaw pain and dysfunction, affects more than 10 million people in the U.S., more women than men.

Signs of TMJ are:

Researchers are still investigating the cause of TMJ, although jaw trauma seems to be a major culprit.  Here are some other risk factors for TMJ.

Poor posture

When you don’t stand up or sit straight, the muscles in your neck become strained and cause jaw muscle dysfunction.

Stress

Stress can cause you to clench your jaw, which increases jaw muscle tension. Bruxism, or tooth grinding, is another leading culprit.

Arthritis

Arthritis, which is a chronic inflammation of the joints, can cause TMJ pain.

Genes

If you have a genetic predisposition to pain and stress, TMJ my develop.

Is TMJ causing your chronic headaches?

Chronic headaches are a symptom of many disorders and diseases. But sometimes TMJ is the cause.

When the TMJ muscles that run along your cheeks and jaw tense, like when you’re grinding your teeth, pain can radiate from your jaw to your head. Thus, a headache erupts, which often is accompanied by jaw pain, jaw clicking, trouble moving your jaw, and changes in your bite.

How to treat TMJ headaches

Luckily, TMJ headaches can be stopped, controlled, or lessened.

Dr. Quagliata may suggest an OTC pain reliever, prescribe muscle relaxers or physical therapy, or suggest a mouth guard to lessen the impact of teeth grinding. In some cases, Botox injections can prevent jaw muscles from seizing up, which will reduce headache pain. 

Some easy fixes for TMJ headaches are to stop biting your nails, clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, and leaning on your chin.

If you suffer chronic headaches and have noticed a tightness and soreness in and around your jaw, contact IQ Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, and request an appointment with Dr. Quagliata. Call the office at 585-207-2159, or book your appointment online.

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