There are many factors that can cause recurring headaches but it’s easy to overlook that your jaw could be the source and that you may be experiencing a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) headache.
The TMJ is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. It makes it possible for you to chew, talk, yawn, and many other critical physiological functions. If your jaw joints shift from its proper position, it can cause debilitating complications known as TMJ disorder.
While there are many forces that can strain and shift your jaw joint, a major cause is stress. High levels of stress can cause you to grind your teeth and clench your jaw while you’re asleep or subconsciously throughout the day.
As a result, the muscles in your jaw tense up, causing pain to spread to other muscles in your face and throughout your head, inducing a painful headache.
Symptoms of a TMJ Headache
Headaches are caused by a variety of factors however there is a set of distinct symptoms that can accompany a TMJ headache, such as:
1. Facial Pain
When you injure a muscle, it causes pain and swelling that can quickly spread to surrounding areas. TMJ disorder can cause the muscles supporting the temporomandibular joints to become inflamed, spreading pain to your head, temples, cheeks, ears, which can also radiate down to the neck and into your shoulders.
2. Bite Misalignment
Does your bite feel off? The condition of your jaw joint will determine the structure of your bite. If your teeth don’t fit well when you rest them together, that’s a sign that your temporomandibular joints are not in optimal positioning.
Snoring is often a sign of disturbed breathing during sleep. If your lower jaw has shifted back, it also means your tongue is no longer in its right position, causing it to vibrate against your soft palate. This closes up your airway, resulting in snoring.
4. Popping or Clicking Sounds
When your jaw makes clicking and popping sound when you move it, this is usually a sign that something is wrong. The noise that comes with jaw movements indicates that the lower part of the joint has shifted and is causing your jaw to overexert. Even if you don’t feel pain, you can see a Mount Prospect dentist like Dr. Meyer for support in finding a solution and preventing your jaw from deteriorating into a critical condition.
How to Manage TMJ Headache Pain
If you’ve noticed one or more symptoms of TMJ headache, here are ways to manage the pain:
- Avoid hard or gummy food
- Avoid moving your jaw too often to prevent worsening the situation
- Place ice packs on your jaw to numb the pain (no longer than 15 minutes)
- Practice jaw exercises to help relieve pain
- You can also manage pain by using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) like aspirin
Develop a Personalized Solution for TMJ Headache with Your Mount Prospect Dentist
While the techniques listed above can help remedy your pain, these are not often long-term solutions. To get to the root cause of your TMJ, you can seek the support of Dr. Meyer and the Meyer Dental Group team. Dr. Meyer is highly skilled in treating TMJ and can help you develop a customized solution to end your pain. He takes a careful and compassionate approach to ensure the root cause of your ailments is addressed and corrected. You and Dr. Meyer will work together in your journey to achieving greater health.
Do not suffer in silence. Take back control of your health with Dr. Meyer. Schedule an appointment online or call 847-827-6290 today.