Migraines & HeadachesYour Lethbridge TMJ Dentist
How does TMJD cause headaches?
Lethbridge dentist Dr. Lachman: “When your temporomandibular joint (your TMJ) is not functioning properly, the muscles around your face, head and neck can become strained. Once in this state, almost everything you do can cause additional stress.”
Even when you are relaxing, if your jaw muscles are not resting in their optimal position due to an unbalanced bite, a surplus of stress is added. All this additionalstrain on the muscles in your head, face, and neck can lead to TMJD headaches, migraines and irritation and soreness in all the connected muscles.
TMJD can mess with blood flow
TMJD headaches can also be caused by blood pressure build-up. When the muscles in your face, head, and neck are strained, they can prevent blood from flowing to the proper places. When this occurs, your body attempts to correct the problem by sending more blood to the area, which augments the blood pressure. This feeling of pressure around the head, called a vascular headache, can be exceptionally painful.
It’s a little like “Brain Freeze”. Everyone has had it at least once. You’re enjoying a delicious ice cream, when suddenly it hits you, ouch! Brain freeze is an intense, sharp, pain in your head, or rather brain, that can stop you in your tracks briefly. Brain freeze occurs because the blood vessels in the roof of your mouth contain sensitive nerves. When you consume something cold very quickly, these nerves respond by sending more blood to your brain to prevent heat loss. This rapid injection of blood can cause the same vascular type headache described above. Brain freeze pain is similar to the headache pain a TMJD patient feels.
Is it a headache or a migraine?
TMJD headaches can be so painful they are often misdiagnosed as migraines, but there is a difference between a migraine headache and a headache caused by TMJD.
- Migraine headaches are usually felt mainly on one side of your head and are often accompanied with visual disturbances and extreme sensitivity to light.
- TMJD headaches are most often felt in your temple area, behind the eyes and at the back of the head, with the pain searing to your neck and shoulders.
Since the treatment for migraine headaches is different than the treatment for TMJD headaches, it’s essential you see a medical professional to help you make the distinction.
Find treatment for your headaches
The first step to finding a treatment for a TMJD headache is to find the cause. Lethbridge dentist Dr. Lachman will start the diagnostic process by taking a detailed history of the problem. If you have sought treatment elsewhere, or have received a different diagnosis, he will likely ask for any test results you may have.
Diagnostic testing equipment such as:
- CAT scans
can help Dr. Lachman determine if you jaw joint is a cause of your headaches.
If you would like to learn more about TMJD and how it could be causing your headaches, please schedule a TMJ migraine / headache consultation.