Is your Migraine Caused by Tmd?

By: Patricia Woloch

If you are suffering from migraine headaches, but nothing seems to be helping, maybe you're going about relieving them wrong. If your day is taken up by searing headaches, neck and should pain, vertigo and dizziness, then you might be on your way to a migraine. Add in worn down or sore and sensitive teeth, clicking or popping in the jaw, and facial pain, then maybe your migraines are caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).

What is TMD?
TMD involves the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is the jaw joint connecting the lower jaw with the skull and upper jaw. The flexibility of this joint allows you to talk, create facial expressions, and chew. That is, if the joint is in alignment and moving smoothly. Problems with the joint or injury to the jaw, or joint itself, can cause pain in the head, neck and shoulders. This pain can often be debilitating and last for years. Perhaps one of the most painful symptoms of TMD is a migraine headache.

The trigeminal nerve in the human body is powerful. Affecting parts of the head, face, shoulder and arms through three separate branches, this nerve is also responsible for TMJ and teeth functions. When TMD affects this nerve, pain and tightness of the muscles results. The pain can be sharp or dull, radiating throughout the head and face, and even into your hands and fingers.

Symptoms of TMD:
?Headaches
?Facial pain
?Ear problems - ringing (tinnitus) and pressure
?Limited movement of the jaw
?Clicking, locking, and popping of the jaw
?Stiff jaw muscles
?Pain in the neck, shoulders, and back
?Tingling or numbness in the fingers

Solutions
People will often try anything they can to relieve the pain of migraine headaches. Medication, lying in a dark room, and more may give temporary relief, but the headaches come back. This is because you are relieving the symptoms, but not hitting the cause. If your symptoms reoccur or get worse, it might be time to see a dentist who knows something about neuromuscular dentistry.

Neuromuscular dentistry (NMD) expands upon traditional dentistry by looking at more than just your teeth. NMD looks at your head, shoulders, neck, and back in relation to the jaw. By looking for the reasons your jaw may be out of alignment, NMD can often get to the root cause of your migraines. While every migraine and patient is different, correcting your teeth with dental bonding or porcelain crowns might offer some relief, while other cases might need a custom designed neuromuscular device.

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