Types of Headaches Linked to TMJ

If you think your frequent headaches might have a link to TMJ, there are actually three types of headaches associated with TMJ. These include:

  • Migraines
  • Referred Pain
  • Tension

Some patients may even experience multiple headache types with their TMJ.

Migraines and TMJ

Nearly 40% of people who suffer from TMJ also suffer from frequent migraines. However, there is no clearly defined link between the two but there are small areas of overlap. For instance, some migraines are linked to stressed and overactive jaw muscles. When a branch of the trigeminal nerve receives too much pressure from tense or overactive jaw muscles, the nerve often triggers a migraine. The nerve not only triggers migraines but also controls the jaw muscles and receives pain signals. Once the jaw muscles become overstimulated, they will send a signal to the trigeminal nerve which then triggers a migraine.

The pain signal can also lead to calcitonin gene-related proteins (CGRP) to release which can cause chronic pain conditions including migraines. By preventing the release of CGRP and relaxing the jaw muscles with TMJ treatment, you can control and prevent migraines and other chronic pain conditions.

Referred Pain and TMJ

Your brain sometimes interprets pain coming from the wrong source. Just like it’s easy to dial the wrong phone number, sometimes your brain can also press the wrong button and send your pain signal to the wrong area of your body. A referred pain headache is a headache that is caused by pain somewhere else in the body. If you develop TMJ and don’t experience jaw pain, your body might redirect the pain to cause headaches instead. This is one of the reasons why it’s so difficult to diagnose TMJ or referred pain.

Tension Headaches and TMJ

The last type of headache you may experience due to TMJ are tension headaches. These are similar to sore muscles. If you overwork your biceps at the gym, they’re probably going to feel sore in the morning. If you overwork your jaw, it can cause pain in the jaw that extends to the temples – resulting in a tension headache. These types of headaches feel like they’re right behind the eyes. When the jaw muscles become too tense, the pain can extend to other nearby muscles in the face which is how the tension headache forms.

A Treatment Solution for Frequent Headaches

With an accurate TMJ diagnosis and treatment plan, we can help reduce or eliminate your headaches. Dr. Larry Pribyl offers a wide range of treatment options to help meet the needs of every patient including oral appliance therapy, an ALF appliance, trigger point injections, Rezzimax laser therapy, and more.

We also understand that the cause of your headaches might be a result of a neck injury. This is why we work closely with other healthcare professionals including physical therapists, chiropractors, cranial osteopaths, neurologists, and massage therapists to help mitigate your headaches.

We will also help you evaluate your diet and sleep regimen to determine if your habits are also a cause of your frequent headaches or migraines.

We will help you get to the bottom of your frequent headaches and help you find a drug-free treatment that works for you, regardless if it’s with us or not. Please contact Center for TMJ and Sleep Apnea for a consultation with About the Doctors regarding your frequent headaches today. Call us at (816) 795-1000 to request an appointment.