Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints, and most people who suffer headaches experience them on a regular basis. Many headaches are caused, triggered, or worsened by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). If you suffer from headaches on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis, TMJ treatment may be able to reduce the severity of your headaches and/or their frequency.
To learn whether your headaches may be improved with treatment for your TMJ, please schedule a consultation with Houston neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Ronald Konig.
Types of Headaches
Understanding how treatment of TMJ can help you means understanding what kind of headache you suffer. There are three main types of headaches:
- Primary headaches, including tension, migraine, and cluster headaches.
- Secondary headaches are a sign of other conditions like meningitis, encephalitis, brain tumors, or brain injuries
- Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches
If a clear cause for a headache cannot be determined, it is described as an idiopathic headache. Primary headaches are the most common headaches, affecting more than 90% of the population. For more detailed information on all these types of headaches, please see Dr. Konig’s headache resource.
Primary Headaches and TMJ
TMJ can often cause, trigger, or worsen primary headaches. Tension headaches, the most common form of primary headaches, are often related to TMJ disorders. Tension headaches present as diffuse pain across the entire head or a region of the head, and are often accompanied by muscle aches and tightness across the forehead. TMJ can contribute to tension headaches, increasing their frequency, length, or severity. If you have tension headaches, especially morning headaches, neuromuscular evaluation is an essential part of your treatment.
Migraine headaches are still not completely understood, but can be triggered and mediated by TMJ as well as sleep apnea. TMJ treatment can provide an important complement to your other migraine treatments.
Cluster headaches do not seem to respond to TMJ treatment.
Cranial Neuralgias and TMJ
Cranial neuralgias and facial pain are often caused by pressure on the cranial nerves, which can be caused or worsened by TMJ-related muscle tension. The pain can be anywhere on the head–commonly the face, the back of the head, or the forehead–and still be related to TMJ tension. As a result, cranial neuralgias often respond well to TMJ treatment.
Secondary headaches can be related to life-threatening conditions, so it is important to diagnose the primary condition causing the headache. Treatment of the primary condition is generally the best way to relieve secondary headaches.
One class of secondary headaches responds well to TMJ treatment: sinus headaches. Tension of the trigeminal nerve (the most significant of the cranial nerves) can increase the sensitivity of the sinuses to allergens like pollen and dust. Sometimes, pressure on the trigeminal nerve can cause sinus pain, which leads to fluid production, which can increase your risk of sinus infection, making sinus headaches the cause rather than the result of sinus infections.
If you suffer from frequent or severe headaches, your main concern is getting relief. Neuromuscular dental treatment can often give relief where other treatments fail. To learn if neuromuscular dental treatment can help you, please schedule a neuromuscular dentistry consultation with Houston neuromuscular dentist Dr. Ronald Konig. Contact us today if you are in Houston, Galveston, Katy, Sugar Land or surrounding areas in Texas.