TMJ disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that affects the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. This painful disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms, including headaches. At San Diego Sleep & TMJ Center, we understand the delicate link between TMJ disorder and headaches, and we offer treatment options to help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with both conditions.
The Relationship Between TMJ Disorder and Headaches
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull on either side. Your TMJ joints move in several conditions, unlike other joints in the body. It controls all of the movement of the jaw, including opening and closing the mouth, chewing, and speaking or smiling. When this joint becomes damaged or irritated, it can cause pain, stiffness, and limited joint movement. This is known as TMJ disorder.
Headaches are a common symptom of TMJ disorder. The pain can be felt in the jaw, around the temples, and even in the back of the head. This is because the muscles and nerves that control jaw movement also extend to the head and neck. When these muscles and nerves become irritated, they can cause headaches.
Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles
- Limited jaw movement or stiff joints
- Pain or discomfort when chewing or speaking
- A popping or clicking sound when opening or closing your mouth
- Tired or sore jaw muscles
- Headaches or earaches
- Neck and shoulder pain
Are Headaches Caused by TMJ Disorder?
Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, muscle tension, and certain medical conditions. However, for some individuals, TMJ disorder can be the underlying cause of their headaches. This is because the muscles and nerves that control jaw movement also extend to the head and neck, and when they become tense or inflamed, they can cause headaches.
If you are experiencing headaches and also have symptoms of TMJ disorder, it is important to see a healthcare professional. At San Diego Sleep & TMJ Center, our team of doctors can conduct a thorough examination and determine if your headaches are caused by TMJ disorder.
Migraine and TMJ Disorder: Is there a link?
Migraines are a type of headache characterized by severe pain, often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light, and vision disturbances. Some research suggests that there may be a link between migraines and TMJ disorder. Especially if TMJ pain and joint dysfunction go unaddressed.
TMJ Treatment in San Diego
At San Diego Sleep & TMJ Center, we offer a range of treatment options for TMJ disorder, including:
- Oral splints or night guards: These devices are worn over the teeth to help reposition the jaw and reduce tension in the muscles.
- Physical therapy: Exercises and techniques can help to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles, improving the range of motion and reducing pain.
- Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Bite adjustments: Misalignment of the teeth can cause atypical joint movements, leading to TMJ strain.
- Injectables: Medications used for natural muscle relaxation can provide longer periods of pain relief.
- Sleep appliances: If your joint pain is the result of a clinical sleeping disorder, then oral appliance therapy can be beneficial.
If your headaches are linked to TMJ disorder, treatment for the disorder can help to alleviate your headache symptoms as well. Thankfully San Diego Sleep & TMJ Center can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to manage your symptoms.
TMJ disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms, including headaches or the occasional migraine. At San Diego Sleep & TMJ Center, we understand the link between the two conditions and offer treatment options to help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with both. If you are experiencing headaches and also have symptoms of TMJ disorder, it is important to see a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause. Call our San Diego office today to reserve an exam.