Everyone gets headaches; they are an inevitable fact of life. The tricky thing about headaches, though, is that it’s hard to pin down their cause. Countless mental and physical factors can contribute to headaches, including stress, teeth grinding at night, a genetic predisposition toward migraines, physical trauma to the head, or even trying to process too much information.
One underappreciated and underdiagnosed potential cause of headaches is TMJ problems. Getting your TMJ issues diagnosed could be the first step toward easing those mysterious headaches.
How TMJ Causes Headaches
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your jaw with the rest of your skull, and is located just forward of the ear. Ideally, your TMJ is well-aligned and moves without popping or clicking, allowing the jaw to operate freely for chewing, speaking, and swallowing.
Misaligned TMJs, however, lead to additional pressure being placed on the muscles that move the jaw. One of these is the temporalis, a fan-shaped muscle that connects to the side of your skull. When these muscles become overworked, that can lead to physical pressure on the head that results in headaches.
How to Recognize TMJ Headaches
TMJ headaches differ from migraine headaches in recognizable ways. They are not accompanied by symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to sounds, light, or smells. Instead, keep a lookout for pain or discomfort localized in your jaw that accompanies the headache, such as:
- Painless popping or clicking of the jaw
- Painful chewing
- Locked jaw
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to treat TMJ pain, including oral appliances, lifestyle changes, Invisalign, and, as a last resort, oral surgery. Visit Wilshire Smile Studio if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your jaw. We can treat your TMJ issues, and with them, any accompanying TMJ headaches.
Back to BlogsYour lower jaw is connected to your upper jaw and skull by hinges on both sides (known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ), which you can feel if you put your fingers in front of your earlobes and open and close your mouth. If you have trouble even...
Back to BlogsUp to 15% of American adults (most aged 20-40) suffer from the dislocation of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which connect the lower jaw to the each side of the skull. You can feel these move by holding your fingers just in front of the lower...
Back to BlogsFeel Sore Around Your Jaw, Face, and Neck? You May Have TMJ Disorder The temporomandibular joint (aka TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull and the hinges can be felt ifyou put your fingers just in front of the lower earlobes and open and close your...