Migraine Headaches and TMJ PainThursday, May 13th, 2010, 1:25 pm
Often headache patients spend years going from doctor to doctor trying to find a cure for their pain. The cause of many headache episodes is not always a “migraine”. The answer for many headache patients is proper diagnosis and treatment for their temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly known as TMJ dysfunction or just TMJ.
The temporomandibular joint is one of the most complicated joints in the body. Damage to this complex structure can be caused by accidents, a poor bite or often because of bruxism (teeth grinding) due to stress. The Mayo Clinic estimates that 5 to 15 percent of Americans suffer from some type of pain connected with TMJ disorders.
Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction often include blinding headaches, facial or jaw pain, clicking noises in the jaw joint or a feeling of “fullness” in the ears or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Each patient may have a different combination of symptoms – or only one.
Proper diagnosis by a dentist is who has been trained to treat TMJ dysfunction is an important first step. Treatment options vary for each individual but highly effective treatment involves the creation of a custom orthotic appliance. This appliance is normally worn at night and allows your jaw muscles to stay in their most relaxed position. Dr. Wilbanks may also suggest diet and lifestyle changes to help ease inflammation in the jaw joint.