Chronic Migraines from TMJ disorder

Migraines are debilitating headaches, sometimes accompanied by other symptoms that can cause severe distress. The pain of a migraine may cause a pulsing or throbbing sensation, often on one side of the head. Many patients with migraines also experience nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to noise and light. Migraines can last a few hours up to a few days and are sometimes so painful that the sufferer cannot function properly.

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What Does a Migraine Feel Like?

Migraine symptoms may vary from person to person and from one episode to the next. The most common symptom is severe pain, which is much more intense than a tension or stress headache. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain radiating from the skull to the jawbone or cheeks
  • Painful pressure behind the eyes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Stiff neck
  • Visual disturbances such as sparkling lights
  • Temporary loss of vision or blurred vision

How Does TMJ DIsorder Cause Migraines?

The causes of migraine are complex and can be either neurological or physical in origin. If you have TMJ Disorder, it may lead to migraine headaches due to muscle tension that leads to “trigger points,” painful knots in the muscles that become inflamed and throbbing.

The temporomandibular joint’s complex network of muscles, ligaments, and nerves may be irritated or pinched, causing migraine-like pain around the jaw. If the jaw is misaligned, the muscles try to compensate, leading to overuse, inflammation, and migraines.

Are Bruxism and Migraines Related?

TMJ Disorder is often the result of teeth grinding (bruxism). Bruxism puts excessive stress on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles and ligaments. This sustained tension can trigger migraine from teeth clenching. For some patients, muscle tension creates a domino effect, with muscle imbalance spreading throughout the head and neck. While the pain may originate in the jaw joint, it can migrate to other areas, causing debilitating pain.

Can Dental Problems Cause Migraines?

Migraines from wisdom teeth issues are more common than many people believe. Because the wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth, directly in front of the temporomandibular joint and near bundles or nerves and muscles that radiate throughout the face and skull, pain from impacted wisdom teeth can trigger migraine headaches.

Can a Dentist Treat Chronic Migraines?

Many migraines do not have a single cause, making them difficult to treat. If migraines are neurological, dental care may not be effective. However, if migraines recur frequently due to TMJ Disorder, a dentist can effectively reduce or eliminate migraines by treating problems within the temporomandibular joint.

What Can a Dentist Do to Treat Migraines?

When migraines are the result of TMJ Disorder or bruxism, there are several treatment options available, including:

  • Oral Appliances: Custom mouth guards or splints can alleviate teeth grinding or clenching, allowing muscles to relax and reducing jaw tension.
  • Bite Adjustment: Correcting a misaligned bite so that the upper and lower teeth meet properly reduces strain on the temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles and ligaments.
  • Orthodontic Intervention: In cases of severe misalignment or crooked teeth, an orthodontic device may gradually correct issues that contribute to migraine pain.
  • Collaborate Treatment: If you suffer from complex migraines with multiple causes, Dr. Jordan will collaborate closely with your doctor, neurologist, or pain specialist to ensure every aspect of your migraine pain is addressed.

If you suffer from chronic migraines and suspect TMJ Disorder or Bruxism may be a potential cause, Dr. Jordan can help. She will examine your temporomandibular joint, assess your bite, and discuss your treatment options, bringing you one step closer to relief. To schedule a consultation, call our office at Santa Rosa Office Phone Number 707-544-2811.

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