TMJ Related Headaches

There are millions of people who suffer from TMJ headaches. These particular headaches are probably the most misdiagnosed and least understood of any kind of headache. Symptoms of a TMJ headache can closely mimic those of a migraine headache, sinus headache, cluster headache and a tension headache.

Types of Headaches:

Migraine

There are many TMJ patients who suffer from headaches similar to migraines. At times, these may be due to the pressure placed on the joints in the jaw. Due to this pressure, the muscles are constantly contracted or in a state of tension. Facial muscles may start to cramp. This can lead to intense pain that may in turn result in sensitivity to light and nausea.

Cluster Headache

A cluster headache is described as being a sudden burst of pain behind one eye. These kinds of headaches are more common in men than women and are less common than migraine. TMJ headaches may present with severe pain on one side of the eye and can resemble cluster headaches, although, they are typically not classic cluster headaches.

Sinus Headache

Sinus headaches are pressure based. They often feel worse when the head is tilted forward due to the increased pressure. A runny nose and earaches are the main symptoms for sinus headache. These sinus-like symptoms may happen since the mouth, nose and ears are all connected and in close proximity to one another. Some patients suffering from TMJ disorder have reported experiencing more sinus infections once they have been diagnosed with TMJD. Researchers are not exactly sure what the connection is.

Tension Headache

A tension headache can range from being a sharp pain to a dull ache. The pain can be felt as a surface pain due to the tense muscles surrounding the area of the TMJ, down to the shoulders and to the upper regions of the neck. This pain may change when you are swallowing, yawning or eating. TMJ tension headaches can be either pain that originates from the jaw and radiates to the temple region or referred pain. Often, the pain is described as feeling like you have a rubber band or a vice around your forehead.

TMJ Headache Triggers

TMJ headaches can be triggered by many things. For instance: extreme physical exhaustion, fatigue, dental problems, grinding and clenching, hormonal changes as in those that occur during the menstrual cycle, trauma, substance overuse and medication, specific foods such as MSG, cheese and chocolate, poor posture, changes in the weather and allergies.

Self-Care

Make a plan to help relieve the stress in your life. Focus on something that you really enjoy and make time daily to do it. Avoid eating chewy or hard foods. Apply moist heat or ice to sore jaw muscles. Avoid foods that are known to trigger headaches. And lastly, drink lots of water and watch your diet.



Family Physical Therapy | Fairbanks, Alaska PT Office

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