It is very common for our TMJ pain patients to have seen an ENT or other medical professionals for the headaches and pain they experience. After all if you have constant headaches and earaches, the most logical thing to do is to see your physician. Many times if no medical problems are found, the symptoms may stem from your bite or rather how your teeth force your muscles and joints into a bad position.
I am often asked how this causes headaches? Simply stated, contracting muscles pull on the periosteum around the skull. This muscle contraction in turn causes decreased blood flow through tissues which can cause the release of vasoactive peptides that directly stimulate the nerve endings. In laymans terms the constant contracting of facial muscles as you eat chew swallow 2500 times a day can cause headaches if the way your teeth meet together is not correct.
What about ear congestion? Your jaw joint or TMJ is right in front of the ear. When the joint is compressed backwards it puts pressure on the middle ear which has a fenestrum. Pressure on the middle ear causes the feeling of congestion. In fact, this compression can also cause vertigo and tinnitus.
In overview, TMJ problems can cause a host of maladies from ear congestion to tingling of the finger tips. The good news is that these can be treated and this is what I personally find so rewarding, helping these patients.