Do you experience pain in your jaw, headaches, or grinding teeth?
TMJ & Tension Headaches
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), headaches are among the most common disorder of the nervous system. In fact, it is estimated that 47% of adults have had a headache in the last year. The tempromandibular joint (TMJ) operates as a sliding hinge connecting the lower jaw to the skull. Therefore, parafunctional habits (example: grinding and/or clenching the teeth) put increased pressure on the jaw; can lead to joint pain; and can become destructive in nature. The muscles fatigue and spasm which can refer pain to many areas of the head and neck. This muscle fatigue leads to Tension Headaches. But it is important to note that Tension Headaches, not migraines, can be caused by TMJ disorders.
A Tension Headache is categorized by:
- Dull aching head pain
- Pressure across the forehead or on the sides or back of the head
- Tenderness on scalp, neck and shoulder muscles
It is important to know that not all tension headaches are caused by TMJ disorders, but if you also have jaw pain it is a good idea to get yourself evaluated.
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.
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Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
- Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
- Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
- Do you have chronic headaches, neck aches, or pain in your shoulders?
- Do you have ear pain and/or pressure?
- Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
- Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
- Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, grind, or lock when you open or close your mouth?
- Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
- Do you have pain in the jaw joint, muscles and/or surrounding area?
- Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
- Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
- Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
- Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
- Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
- Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?