TMJ Center of Los Angeles

TMJ Headaches


TMJ Headaches

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
  • Earaches

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.

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