Are you a migraine sufferer and have TMJ like me? I had no clue the two could be linked together and causing some of the serious pain I have been experiencing. After doing some research on the topic it all just started to click together and make a lot of sense. You’ll see what I mean if you keep reading.
What is the TMJ Joint?
The TMJ joint is connected to the base of the skull and it’s what allows us to do anything with our jaw. From yawning, chewing, and talking it’s what makes it possible to happen. When it gets agitated from clenching or overuse it inflames and that’s when we run into problems. The muscles there are connected all the way up to the top of your head, all the way down to the shoulders. Now it makes sense that it can cause some serious headache issues, along with shoulder and neck pain that you would think was completely unrelated to your TMJ pain. Until now I didn’t think it was related but when I get those awful migraines I would open my mouth to let my jaw pop and it was a short but amazing moment of relief to my head. With everything connected right there that’s probably why it feels so good.
How does Treating TMJ help?
Treating TMJ is as simple as going to the dentist. They will likely start you off with a mouth guard to wear at night while your sleeping since it’s most common that people with this problem grind their teeth at night. This mouth guard is used to relieve the stress of the muscles and joint. It’s not really a cure but it will make you feel better in the long run. Also some simple lifestyle changes can really help out. Things like avoiding harder foods if you feel a flare coming on and making note of what triggers you to clench or grind your teeth so you can change that behavior. Anti-inflammatory pills will also help you out when you’re feeling that tightness coming on. Avoiding huge open mouth yawns and bigger mouth movements will also help out. If none of these help you then the dentist or other doctor can look into prescribing a medication to help you with the pain. There is permanent solutions out there, but they haven’t been proven to be effective yet. Ask your dentist if you really want to explore those options like orthodontic work to change your bite.
As the dentistry world continues to monitor and research ways to help treat TMJ I am sure we’ll see even better options in the years to come!