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Head Pain? Heed This

Balance Epigenetic Orthodontics - May 25, 2020 - 0 comments

Are you frequently waking up with headaches? Is it sinus congestion? Stress? The nightcap you had before bed? What if it was caused by something you never considered: jaw dysfunction?

Waking up with a headache could be a sign of TMJD, also known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction. TMJD is defined as a group of conditions that cause dysfunction and pain in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and the muscles around these joints that control the jaw movement.

Estimates from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggest that more than 10 million Americans are living with a TMJ disorder.

The most commonly reported symptoms of TMJD are related to the jaw, such as pain in the jaw or around it, swelling near jaw joints, and crepitus, the clicking, popping or snapping of the jaw when chewing or speaking. Other less reported — but just as significant — side effects include unexplained ear pain, ringing in the ears and headaches.

So, how are headaches and jaw dysfunction connected?

“Muscles link the jaw and head,” said Dr. David Buck, a Lynnwood, Wash., epigenetic orthodontics.

When the jaw joints are damaged and out of alignment, the muscles surrounding the joints become strained and tired.

“When this happens, it triggers the muscles and nerves in the head to try to help out, and they then become tired and strained as well,” Buck said.

When this happens, pain can develop in the head that mimics a headache. This pain is often described as a “constant pressure” or “tension headache.”

“Many people describe their head pain as feeling as if their head was being squeezed,” Buck said.

Head pain alone is not an indicator of TMJD, but it’s worth a call to your dentist if you’re noticing it with other symptoms.

“Waking up with a headache here and there is not enough to say you have TMJD. If you are waking up with a headache regularly, and your jaw is tired, tense, stiff or makes noise when you’re chewing or talking, it’s time to schedule a checkup,” Buck said.

TMJD treatments often include over-the-counter pain relievers; warm, moist heat; muscle relaxers; and specialized exercises to bring relief. Those affected by the condition need care to bring balance back to the jaw and relieve the tense jaw muscles.

Surgery is a last-resort treatment option and is rare — less than 5 percent of cases require surgery.

Source: Popsugar. Is TMJ Disorder the Culprit Behind Your Regular Headaches? 26 February 2020.