Recent international studies have shown the average prevalence of tension-type headaches as 36% for men and 42% for women. With 23% of households today containing at least one migraine sufferer (6% of men and 18% of women). This has a huge impact on up to 60% of the sufferers and their family members who reported having to manage reductions in social activities and work capacity, on top of the pain.
Headache can have many causes or contributing factors; one of the most common being dysfunction of the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ and headaches can be complex in nature and if left untreated can lead to long term problems, such as migraines. Seeking the treatment from an expert is a must to get the right diagnosis, treatment and advice for your situation.
Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself see if your TMJ is the causes of your Headache:
Does your jaw feel tight?
Over activation and stimulation of the muscles of the TMJ can cause tension and tightness to build up within the TMJ muscles, creating not only TMJ pain but also referred pain to the head and face. E.g. The temporalis muscle
Image: common trigger points and referred pain patterns ot the TMJ
Do you have a restriction in TMJ movement or experience locking?
Restrictions in range of motion and complete locking of the jaw can cause pain and inflammation not only locally within the TMJ, but also refer pain to the head and neck, eventually causing headaches.
- Does your jaw click?
Clicking is a common symptom of TMJ dysfunction and when paired with a headache, can be an underlying contributor of the headache. Clicking of the TMJ can be a sign of imbalances and impaired muscle function within the TMJ. These clicks can be heard and felt with or without pain and be on one or both sides of the jaw.
- Does your ear feel blocked, ringing or sore?
The TMJ and ear canals are located directly next to each other. Tension within the muscles of the jaw can cause tension inside the ear, giving the sensation of blocked or sore ears (obviously in the absence of any ear infection)
- Does your jaw feel misaligned?
Misalignment of the jaw can be a sign of muscular and or joint dysfunctions within the TMJ and the rest of the body. These misalignments can lead to inflammation and fatigue of the muscles within the neck, shoulder and back. Referred pain from these areas then affected the head and face. Postural demands, particularly those that are bad (i.e forward head posture) are a common cause of headaches.
Have you answered yes to any of these questions?
If so, your TMJ could likely be contributing to your headache
Get the diagnosis and treatment you need.