What are the symptoms of a TMJ headache?

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TMJ-related problems can often cause headaches, as well as other uncomfortable symptoms.

If you struggle with chronic headaches, you may be surprised to learn that your jaw could be contributing to your pain. In many cases, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects that skull and the jaw, can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms when it does not function as it should. These symptoms include chronic headaches and migraines, as well as pain in the face, jaw, neck, and shoulders.  

What are the symptoms of a TMJ headache? 

In many cases, TMJ headaches occur alongside other uncomfortable symptoms. These include tight and/or sore facial and jaw muscles; difficulty moving the jaw; noticeable changes to the alignment of the bite; and a clicking or grinding sound in the jaw. Often, TMJ headaches feel like tension headaches, and they can recur in one or more areas of the head.

What causes TMJ headaches?

TMJ disorders can be caused by a number of factors, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between a headache that is related the TMJ and a general headache. The location of the TMJ is certainly a factor because the muscles of the joint are located along the cheeks and jaw and when these muscles are tense, pain can spread throughout the face and into the head. The muscles of the TMJ often tense up as a result of teeth grinding, which is a common contributor to dysfunction of the TMJ.

TMJ headaches can also be caused by other conditions, including osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, for example.

What are the treatment options?

TMJ headaches can be treated in a variety of ways, but it is important to understand that each person’s needs are different. Sometimes, certain lifestyle changes, such as stress reduction techniques, dietary adjustments, and avoiding certain jaw movements can help to reduce the frequency and severity of TMJ headaches. Jaw exercises can also be helpful as they often work to relax the jaw and reduce tension in the muscles.

In other cases, it might be necessary to seek professional help from a medical practitioner. Once any underlying causes have been identified, a treatment plan can be customised for you. Treatment may include a combination of approaches, including neuromuscular orthotics, low level laser therapy, trigger point therapy, prolotherapy and treatment of breathing dysfunction.

Ultimately, the good news is that TMJ headaches can be addressed. If you suspect that your headaches are linked to your TMJ, it is advisable that you discuss your symptoms with a professional so that they can advise you on a course of action best suited to your needs.

How can we help?

If you are suffering from chronic headaches or other TMJ-related symptoms, we encourage you to come in and see us. We will get to know you and listen to your concerns before performing a thorough assessment and providing you with a comprehensive diagnosis. Once we have determined the cause of your issue, our dentist and chiropractor team will work together to formulate a treatment plan for you.

If you have any issues with your bite, teeth, or the position in which you hold your jaw, our dentist Dr Shah will correct these problems, usually by working to reduce stress on the TMJs and muscles. If areas of dysfunction are identified in other areas of the body, such as the cranium, neck and back, our TMJ chiropractor will work to resolve these issues. Our team focuses on non-surgical treatments, and we may recommend a combination of approaches in addressing your concerns.

If you would like to find out more about TMJ headaches and their possible causes, please have a look here.

To read more about the range of services that our team offers at TMJ Centre Melbourne, please have a look here.  

To find out more about our range of services or to book an appointment, please contact us here or give us a call on (03) 9417 4038.