TMJ-TMD in Fallbrook, CA
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or TMD has several problematic symptoms. One of these symptoms is a headache. A TMJ-related headache can be severe and cause recurrent pain. It is a common complaint of patients but not all physicians can diagnose it. The reason for this is that not all doctors are trained to identify TMJ disorder as the cause of a headache.
Tension Headache and TMJ
A TMJ headache is a type of tension headache. It is like wearing a hat that is too small for your head. One of the reasons why a TMJ disorder can trigger a tension headache is that your muscles constantly contract due to a misaligned jaw joint. The muscle fibers grow, causing tension or pressure in the neck, jaw, and face. As the pressure prevents proper blood flow from entering those areas, the body will send more blood. This results in an increase in blood pressure in the head, causing a tension headache. A TMJ headache is typically described as intense and frequent. Hence, most cases are misdiagnosed as migraines. Pain medication may help relieve pain. However, the effect is only temporary because the medication does not tackle the cause of the issue. The best way to address a TMJ headache is to visit a neuromuscular dentist or a dentist who specializes in treating TMJ-TMD.
Our dentists at Fallbrook Village Dental specialize in treating TMJ by realigning and putting the joints and jaw in their optimal position. After an initial consultation with our specialists, you will receive a TMJ treatment plan that will give you permanent relief from tension headaches.
TMD is more common among females than among males. It also affects individuals between the ages of 20 and 40 with a history of bruxism, trauma to the jaw, poor posture, or increased stress. Apart from a headache, TMJ causes pain in the face, neck, upper back, and ears. If you have this disorder, you might have trouble opening or closing your mouth. You may also hear clicking or grinding sounds in your jaw joint when you talk, eat, or yawn. These symptoms can limit your work-related activities.
Preventing TMJ-TMD Symptoms
You can prevent the symptoms from worsening by avoiding stress, which is one of the main contributors to this pain. Stress can cause you to clench your jaw or grind your teeth. Relieving stress requires getting a sufficient amount of sleep. Deep breathing is also helpful. For that reason, our TMJ-TMD dentists recommend yoga as part of the treatment plan. Apart from relieving stress, it is also vital that you avoid slouching. Remember, the neck and jaw are connected. When you slouch, you are placing undue stress on your neck or cervical spine, which affects the position of the mandible.
Poor posture also alters the length-tension of the masticatory muscles. Muscle imbalances and joint misalignment can increase joint compression, thereby triggering pain.
Your oral habits may also increase your chances of suffering from TMJ. If you frequently chew gum, for example, you may overuse your TMJ muscles, resulting in trauma of the temporomandibular joint.
Furthermore, grinding teeth can lead to overuse of TMJ muscles. Wearing a mouthguard will not stop TMJ but it will stop you from grinding your teeth at night.
A healthy diet is also recommended. Some foods may cause compression forces of the TMJ. If you have TMJ, eat softer foods or take smaller bites so that you are not overusing your TMJ.