Can TMJ make headaches and migraines worse? The short answer is yes. Migraines, Headaches and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are common conditions that affect a significant portion of the population. While they are distinct conditions with different causes, symptoms, and treatments, each one of these conditions can further aggravate another one. For example, a patient with tension headaches or migraines can experience more severe and frequent headaches if a concurrent TMJ condition has not been diagnosed and treated correctly. In this blog, we will explore the link between migraines, headaches, and TMJ disorders, and will discuss the role of TMJ headaches.
First, let’s define what migraines and TMJ disorders are. Migraines are a type of headache that is typically characterized by moderate to severe pain that is accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, sound or smell in addition to nausea or vomiting. Migraines can be triggered by a variety of factors, including certain foods, wine, stress, hormonal changes, weather changes or sleep patterns.
On the other hand, TMJ disorders refer to a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint and surrounding chewing muscles (the masseters, the temporalis, and the pterygoids). The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jawbone to the skull in front of the ear and right below the temples. Disorders of this joint can cause a range of symptoms, including pain in the jaw joint itself, temples, ears, and surrounding muscles in Addition to the following, jaw locking, difficulty opening jawcrackling sounds when opening and closing the mouth, and difficulty chewing or opening the mouth wide.
While migraines and TMJ disorders may seem like two unrelated conditions, there is some evidence to suggest that they may be linked in certain cases. In fact, research has shown that individuals with TMJ disorders are more likely to experience migraines and other types of headaches than those without TMJ disorders.
One possible explanation for this link is that the muscles and nerves that are involved in TMJ disorders are also connected to the head and neck, which are areas that are commonly affected by migraines. In addition, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders may trigger changes in the nervous system that can contribute to the development of migraines.
Is it a TMJ Headache or a Migraine?
One specific type of headache that is often associated with TMJ disorders is known as a TMJ headache. TMJ headaches are typically felt in the temples or the back of the head, and they may be accompanied by pain in the jaw joint or surrounding muscles. These headaches can be triggered by activities that involve the jaw, such as chewing or talking, and they may also be more common in individuals who grind their teeth or clench their jaw.
While TMJ headaches are not the same as migraines, they share many key differences that you can be on the lookout for. TMJ headaches are located in the temples while migraines are usually one-sided and can be located in any part of the head. TMJ headaches feel dull, achy or sharp and migraines feel throbbing or pounding. TMJ headaches have no light, sound, or smell sensitivity. They are not associated with nausea or vomiting while migraines have light, sound, or smell sensitivity and are associated with nausea or vomiting. TMJ headaches tend to be worse in the mornings waking up while migraines can present at any time of the day.
So, what can you do if you are experiencing migraines or TMJ headaches? The first step is to talk to your healthcare provider, who can help you determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options.
For migraines, it is best to be seen by a neurologist as there are a variety of medications and other treatments that can help to manage symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. These may include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture or massage.
For TMJ disorders and TMJ headaches, treatment options may include lifestyle changes, such as avoiding hard or chewy foods and practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress and tension in the jaw and surrounding muscles. You may also want to be seen by a TMJ & Orofacial pain specialist who can recommend oral appliances such as splints or mouthguards, physical therapy, injection therapy or in more severe cases, surgery.
In some cases, treating TMJ disorders may also help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and other types of headaches. By addressing the underlying cause of the headaches, such as muscle tension or nerve irritation, it may be possible to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and other types of headaches.
You may also want to consider adjusting your diet to reduce your risk of triggering migraines or TMJ headaches. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and foods that are high in sugar or sodium. By making healthy choices and avoiding these triggers, you may be able to reduce your risk of experiencing headaches.
While migraines and TMJ disorders are two distinct conditions, there is some evidence to suggest that they may be linked in certain cases, particularly when it comes to TMJ headaches. If you are experiencing migraines or TMJ headaches, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
Finally, it is important to prioritize self-care and to take steps to manage stress in your life. Stress can be a major trigger for both migraines and TMJ headaches, so finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, yoga, or spending time in nature, can be an important part of managing your symptoms.
TMJ Disorders and TMJ Headache Treatment with Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari
Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari is a highly experienced TMJ & orofacial pain specialist and is one of the leading providers of injections, botox and oral appliances for TMJ and TMJ headaches in New York City, NY. With years of experience and a commitment to providing the highest quality care, Dr. Bakhtiari is an expert in the use of many treatments of TMJ disorder and TMJ headaches.
Dr. Bakhtiari has a deep understanding of the underlying causes of TMJ disorder and TMJ headaches, and has extensive experience in using multiple modalities to treat these conditions. He uses a combination of the latest techniques and technologies, including Botox, steroid and trigger point injections, to provide his patients with the most effective treatment possible.
If you are looking for a safe and effective way to treat your TMJ disorder or headaches, Dr. Bakhtiari and his team are here to help. With their expertise and commitment to providing the highest quality care, you can trust that you will receive the best possible treatment for your condition.