Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJD, causes jaw pain where the joint’s supporting muscles can be the source of your migraines.

If you’re feeling any pain from your TMJ, contact Waco Surgical Arts at (254) 870.0833 immediately for Waco TX TMJ treatment.

TMJ and Headache

Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from TMJ headaches, and this health problem is consistently miss-diagnosed.

One reason why TMJ headaches are so commonly miss-diagnosed is that the symptoms can be almost exactly the same as either a sinus headache, tension headache, or migraine headache.
The second reason why TMJ headaches are miss-diagnosed is because it is felt that TMJ falls under the domain of the dentist. Physicians are untrained regarding diagnosis and treatment of TMJ dysfunction.
A study conducted by the University of Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine researched TMJ symptoms being mistaken for tension headache symptoms.
The study was presented by Richard Ohrbach, UB associate professor in the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, and involved 583 participants -- 82.3 percent female and 17.7 percent male. TMJ symptoms were present in all participants.
The study found that 152 people were reported to have tension headaches, based on standard International Headache Society guidelines for tension headache diagnosis. The study also found that both patients and examining physicians may mistake tension headache caused by TMJ symptoms and jaw pain for classic tension headaches.
Know the differences between both types of pain, so you can find lasting relief more quickly.

TMJ Symptoms

  • Migraine headache
  • Tension headache
  • A crackling or grinding sound when you move your jaw.
  • Stiffness in the joint, making it difficult to open and close your mouth.
  • Facial tenderness and pain.
  • Earaches.

Headache Symptoms

Migraine headache: Throbbing pain of moderate to severe severity that lasts 4-72 hours. Usually attended by nausea, sensitivity to light and sounds, vision changes and aura. Women are 3 times more likely than men to have migraines and can be associated with menstrual periods. Tension Headaches: A constant headache that does not throb or pulse. Pain or pressure on both sides of your head. Tightness around your forehead aching pain at your temples or the back of your head and neck.

Treatment

The best way to treat your TMJ pain or headache pain is to address the pain right away. You can also try the following remedies to treat your pain:
  • Place ice or cold packs to the area of the joint
  • Take over-the-counter drugs such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Ecotrin and Tylenol.
  • Eat soft foods and avoiding chewing gum
  • Massage the jaw and neck muscles
  • Relaxation techniques and stress management and reduction
  • Dental splint – usually prescribed and fitted by a jaw specialist.
  • In severe cases, surgery on the jaw or dental surgery may be necessary.
    • TMJ arthroscopy or arthrocentesis
    • Sometimes total joint replacement is needed.

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