tmj and headaches

tmj and headachesServing Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN

Living with chronic pain is difficult. For some people, this pain manifests in severe headaches that occur on a semi-regular basis. Are you living with headaches like this? If so, have you received different—and even contradicting—diagnoses on what is causing your headaches? Have you been diagnosed with migraines, but found that even the prescribed medication does not provide lasting relief?

If you can answer yes to any combination of these questions, then you could be suffering from headaches caused by temporomandibular joint disorder. Also known as TMJ, this disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw joints to the skull, enters a state of dysfunction—usually because of an uneven bite or from an injury. For a patient with TMJ, any issue with the temporomandibular joint soon affects the function of your jaw joints. A patient with TMJ may have problems with the range of motion in their jaw, experience jaw pain, or hear a clicking or popping sound when opening and closing their jaws.

Over time, TMJ will also cause problems with the surrounding muscles, as well as the nerves and blood vessels. One of the nerves in proximity to the temporomandibular joint is the trigeminal nerve, an important transmitter that carries more sensory input to the brain than any neural pathway—even more than the spinal cord itself! This is also why pain is such a common symptom of TMJ.

Diagnostic procedures such as an MRI have established a link between the trigeminal nerve and several varieties of painful tension headaches, such as TMJ headaches and migraines. Both types of headaches aggravate or stimulate the trigeminal nerve. This also explains why many patients who have headaches caused by TMJ are misdiagnosed as suffering from migraines. For those suffering from TMJ headaches, even the most potent prescription headache medication will treat just the symptoms of a headache when it occurs but will do nothing to diminish how often the headaches occur. The only way to alleviate the frequency of these headaches is to treat the cause—the TMJ itself.

Treatment for TMJ headaches

If you have TMJ or think you may have this disorder, then a neuromuscular dentist is the best qualified medical professional to provide care. Neuromuscular dentists undergo extensive post-graduate education that goes far beyond dental school, making them adept at knowing how to diagnose and treat any case of TMJ, which also will provide relief for any other issues stemming from TMJ—such as headaches.

Painful headaches are just one of the symptoms of TMJ.

TMJ Headache Relief in Knoxville

If you have lived with painful headaches for some time without finding relief, you should be screened for TMJ. You owe it to yourself to find lasting relief and stop living with this chronic pain. Contact the Knoxville neuromuscular dentists at Choto Family Dentistry today by calling (865) 409-5077.

Choto Family Dentistry is proud to now serve clients in the areas of Choto, Northshore, and Knoxville in East Tennessee.