Can TMJ disorder cause frequent headaches?

TMJ RichmondA temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can cause frequent headaches. For example, if the muscles that move the jaw are strained due to clenching or grinding the teeth, or even excessive pressure applied to those muscles if other components of the jaw aren’t moving properly.

Unfortunately, TMJ disorder headaches are often misdiagnosed as tension headaches, so they may not be properly treated, meaning that this will become a recurring problem for the patient. You can be on the lookout for the characteristics that point toward TMJ-related headaches, though. These include cracking, popping or stiffness of the jaw, as well as facial pain and earaches.

If you feel that you may be experiencing a TMJ disorder, an oral surgeon is well-prepared to diagnose the problem and provide treatment. These specialists have expertise in identifying which of the jaw’s numerous components are underlying factors in the disorder in addition to planning for the most effective treatment.

The first attempts to treat TMJ disorders will be conservative. For example, massaging the muscles or getting PT to make sure that they are being used properly can help, as can stress reduction. Patients may respond to stress by clenching their jaws or grinding their teeth, exacerbating headaches and other TMJ-associated discomfort. Giving up gum chewing may also help, as this habit can also contribute to overuse of the jaw muscles.

However, if you do not see improvement from those initial TMJ disorder treatment measures, you may have a structural defect that needs to be addressed in order for you to get pain relief. In these cases, surgical interventions may be warranted to correct the defect.

A TMJ disorder may be at fault for your frequent headaches. If this symptom is bothering you, contact our office to schedule an evaluation that can ultimately result in relief from your headaches.

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