Do you suffer headaches over your temples or sides of your head? Do you grind your teeth? Does your jaw click when you open or close your mouth? Do you sometimes get pain over your teeth or jaw but your dentist finds nothing wrong with your teeth? This pain may be very intense and not helped by pain pills. You might be suffering a TMJ headache meaning that the problem is related to your jaw.
The jaw joint is also known as the TMJ, short for temporomandibular joint. Some people search for stronger and stronger medications for these types of pain. But the truth is that these may be powerful and dangerous drugs. And, TMJ pains will keep returning until the cause is found and corrected.
Often in desperation people go from dentist to dentist without much help, all because this can be a very complicated type of pain. As wholistic chiropractors we look at the whole person and treat all the different areas of the musculoskeletal system, including the jaw and skull. Not all chiropractors treat TMJ problems. But because we do, we regularly help people with these TMJ headache symptoms.
Here is some information about TMJ headache type pains…
There are many causes of TMJ headaches, here are a few of the most common:
- Pain in the muscles that close the jaw. These muscles fan out over the sides of your skull with their tendons reaching down under your cheekbones to under the jaw. When you clench your jaw with stress or concentration, these muscles can develop painful knots. This headache pain will be over the sides of your head or over your temples. If you had braces on your teeth as a child, it can increase your chances this type of headache as an adult.
- Other jaw closing muscles are at the back of your cheeks. Pain in these muscles are more over the sides of your face.
- Muscles that move your jaw from side to side can pull unevenly. This causes your jaw joint to misalign. Misalignment of the jaw joint can cause inflammation in the joint itself. You may also get clicking and the feeling that your teeth are not lining up correctly.
- Problems in your upper neck joints can cause problems with your jaw joints. This is because the upper neck spinal joints balance the jaw joint. So, when there is a problem with one area, it can lead to problems in the other areas.
- Trigger points in the muscles that work the jaw can feel just like tooth pain. If your dentist finds nothing wrong with your teeth, we are often checking these muscles.
- A problem with proper balance and function as far away as your feet can cause jaw misalignment and pains. When you have foot pronation or supination, it alters the balance of your entire spinal structure when standing and can lead to TMJ problems.
- Whiplash injuries can hurt not only your neck but your jaw joints and muscles as well.
- Long term stress held in the upper back, neck or jaw muscles can all lead to TMJ headache pains.
What can be done to ease TMJ headache pains?
Our approach to helping these types of headache is to first take a history of where you are feeling the pain and when. Also we ask about any activities that aggravate or bring out your pains.
Then we do an examination to look at your posture, your skeletal balance, and muscle balance as well as if your jaw is tracking evenly as it should. Also can you fully open and close your mouth properly. We check all the likely muscles for any trigger points or painful knots.
Once we determine the likely cause or causes of your pain, we get to work helping you clear the headache pain. This may entail: massage work or other muscle therapies to ease tight and painful muscles, chiropractic adjustments of your spine or jaw and skull bones to align them and balance your musculoskeletal system.
Then we teach you exercises to improve any posture problems that may be contributing to your headaches. Also we teach you how to change your work or homelife habits that may be contributing to your headaches, such as looking down at a cell phone too much, or sitting with your head turned too long, or sleeping on too many pillows.
Each person is a little different as to what is contributing to their headache so each treatment plan is unique to that person’s needs.
So if you have been suffering TMJ headache pains and would like a little help to feel better, please give us a call at 978-535-6155 to schedule a visit today.