Are Your Headaches Related to TMJ?

Headaches are a common symptom associated with TMJ/TMD. It is not uncommon for patients to mistake TMD headaches with Migraine headaches. Many of the same symptoms of TMD are also found in patients diagnosed with Migraines. It is important that a proper diagnosis be made in order to eliminate your symptoms effectively. A misdiagnosis could lead to a lifetime of pain!

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Call us: 615-771-1983

What is a Migraine Headache?

First of all, migraine headaches are very rare. But the associated symptoms of a true migraine are very specific. Sixty percent of people with migraine headaches state they get a feeling that the pain is about to begin before it actually starts. These unusual feelings can include altered mood, irritability, depression or euphoria, fatigue, craving for certain foods, stiff muscles, especially in the neck, constipation or diarrhea and sensitivity to smells or noise. Additionally, people with migraines complain of visual disturbances associated with headaches like moving spots in their visual field or extreme intolerance to light. This is the aura phase of true migraine headaches and it is said to occur in 99% of cases. These visual disturbances consist of a partial alteration in the field of vision or flickering light and may interfere with the person’s ability to read or function visually. Some patients lose parts of their field of vision and can see only part of what is in front of them. Other common sensory symptoms of a true migraine headache are a feeling of pins and needles on one side in the face that spreads to the nose and mouth area of the same side. Numbness in the affected area will occur after the pins and needle feeling has passed.

The pain of a true migraine headache can be quite severe and last from one hour to several days. Nausea occurs concurrently in almost all cases of migraine headache with about one-third of the patients actually vomiting.

The cause for Migraine Headaches is unknown.

Symptoms of TMJ Headaches, not Migraines

The symptoms associated with TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders) on the other hand are very specific but admittedly similar to some of the symptoms of true migraine headaches. The symptoms of TMD are:

  • Frequent recurrent headaches with the associated pain always being located where the muscles of mastication are attached to the bone of the face and skull.
  • Frequent or recurrent earaches. This can be unilateral or bilateral and is frequently described by patients as a “deep earache”.
  • Neck pain occurs when the muscles that control head movement are connected to the skull and upper torso.
  • Pain in the mandible, (jaw). This pain can radiate from above and is frequently confused with dental pain. Many patients have actually had teeth extracted thinking that the pain was coming from the teeth.
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Hearing problems are frequently described as a feeling of fullness in the ear or talking inside of a drum
  • Vertigo
  • Shoulder or arm pain or tightness
  • Arm/hand/finger tingling or numbness
  • Inability to open the lower jaw fully or locking of the jaw

Many people who experience unexplained headaches, earaches, neck pain, jaw pain, vertigo, or shoulder/arm pain do not realize that these symptoms are due to the inflammation in their JAW JOINT resulting in Temporomandibular Joint Disorders.

How Do I Fix It?

If you think your pain may be associated with TMJ Disorder, call our office today at TMJ Services Office Phone Number 615-771-1983 to schedule a consultation in Brentwood, TN.