Understanding the Link between Migraines and TMJ


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If you suffer from migraines, you could be experiencing a problem with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and not realize it! Many people who experience tension headaches or migraines will be misdiagnosed when really the problem is located in your jaw, which could be causing your painful migraines.

Your dentist can examine your jaw and likely tell if you have a problem with the TMJ and talk with you about treatments that could help relieve your migraines. What is the link between migraines and the TMJ?

Misaligned TMJ Causes Tension

The TMJ is the joint that anchors your jawbone to your skull. This complex joint is responsible for helping you chew your food and speak properly, not to mention yawn! The muscles that help to support this joint may be the cause of your migraines if you have a misaligned TMJ. When the TMJ is misaligned, it causes pressure on these muscles whenever you move your jaw. This is because the muscles are trying to readjust themselves back into place—the constant pressure of these straining muscles that support an uneven TMJ can cause migraines!

Jaw Problems Cause Additional Symptoms

If you have a problem with your TMJ, such as misalignment, this issue can cause additional symptoms that may contribute to your migraines. For instance, people with a TMJ disorder are more likely to grind their teeth. Teeth grinding puts immense pressure on your teeth and jaw and can be responsible for tension headaches and migraines. You may also experience other symptoms such as aching teeth or even earaches along with your migraines if you suffer from a TMJ disorder!

Teeth Touching Creates Pressure

If you have an abnormal bite in which your teeth constantly touch, also called malocclusion, you likely have a TMJ disorder. Your teeth shouldn’t touch at all—not when the jaw is resting and very rarely during eating. When your teeth touch as the result of an uneven jaw, this touching can cause your jaw muscles to contract. When this happens, pressure is created and this pressure can cause tension throughout the cranium and may end up causing a severe headache or migraine.

Causes and Treatment

There’s no exact cause of TMJ disorders. Your TMJ misalignment could be the result of an injury to your face and jaw, malocclusion, or even stress, anxiety, and arthritis. Often it may be a combination of these factors that causes your TMJ disorder and migraine headaches. Fortunately, there is treatment for TMJ disorders. Your dentist can examine your jaw joint and talk with you about any symptoms you may be experiencing.

If you’ve been suffering from migraines and medication or other therapies haven’t helped, the underlying problem could be in your jaw! The link between the TMJ and migraines is evident in that problems with the TMJ create pressure and tension which can lead to severe migraines, especially if the problem is ongoing. By visiting an experienced dentist, you can find out if jaw tension or a misaligned bite is actually causing your headaches!

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Understanding the Link between Migraines and TMJ
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Your dentist can examine your jaw and likely tell if you have a problem with the TMJ and talk with you about treatments that could help relieve your migraines. What is the link between migraines and the TMJ?

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Karan Kamboh
Karan Kamboh

Dr. Karan Kamboh is an experienced family and cosmetic dentist serving Ashburn & Lansdowne, Virginia. For more information on Dr. Kamboh, visit www.lansdownedentalassociates.com.

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