TMJ Headaches Linked to More Pain Throughout the Body

Boutique Dentistry for Nashville, Tennessee

Do you have headaches? If so, you are most likely frustrated because it’s hard to figure out what’s causing them. And if you can’t figure out what’s causing them, it’s that much harder to get them treated.

But now a new study gives us more clues to help us figure out what could be causing your headaches. It turns out that if your headaches are linked to TMJ, you’re much more likely to have pain elsewhere in the body.

And if we can link your headaches to TMJ, Nashville’s expert TMJ dentist Dr. Kent E. White can reduce your headache frequency and severity.

TMJ Headaches Linked to More Pain Throughout the Body

Not Just Headaches Linked to TMJ

Researchers in this study looked at 295 patients who were seeking treatment for orofacial pain in 2013 and 2014. Among these patients, they found 34 who had TMJ with headache and 82 who had TMJ but no headaches.

They found that when TMJ was linked to headaches, it tended to also be linked to pain in the head and neck and throughout the body. People with TMJ headaches had an average of 13 painful sites in their head and neck region, compared to just 8 for people with TMJ but no headaches. And when it came to painful locations elsewhere in the body, those with headaches had an average of 2 additional painful locations, compared to just over 1 for those with TMJ but no headaches. In addition, jaw pain was more intense for patients who also had headaches.

Is Your Headache Related to TMJ?

With this information, we have more information that can help us show that your headaches are linked to TMJ. If your headache is accompanied by multiple other sites of pain in the body, plus numerous painful sites in the head and neck, it’s more likely to be linked to TMJ.

In addition, consider TMJ as a cause for your headaches if you have:

  • Multiple TMJ symptoms
  • Headache triggered by jaw activity
  • Headache resistant to typical treatments

This can signal that TMJ is responsible for your headaches, which should be investigated.

Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ

If you suspect your headaches might be linked to TMJ, we can do a scientific diagnosis to be sure. We have many high-tech tools to measure your bite forces, the tension in your muscles, the motion of the jaw, and whether there are sounds of dysfunction in the joint.

Once we diagnose TMJ, we can begin treatment. Actually, treatment begins as part of diagnosis. We use TENS, a kind of gentle electric massage, to relax your jaw muscles. For some people, that’s all that’s necessary to give drug-free relief of jaw pain and headaches.

Other times, we might recommend that you wear an orthotic to help hold your jaw in a relaxed position. If this works, we can discuss further treatment options.

To learn whether TMJ treatment can help control your headaches, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with Nashville TMJ dentist Dr. Kent E. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.