Has this ever happened to you? You wake up in the morning ready to face the day. You have an execution plan for your meeting, a solid list of to-dos, and a cup of coffee. Now the only thing holding you back is a creeping pain traveling along your back and into your neck then head. Is this the second time this week or the third? Why does this keep happening to you?

Frequent headaches can make you feel both frustrated and helpless. Treatment can be sporadic and not altogether effective, and worse, sometimes your headache diagnosis could be wrong. If you’ve been dealing with frequent headaches for a while, running the gamut on different types of treatment, there could be one you might have overlooked: treatment for TMJ.

Young woman experiencing the pain of a headache due to TMJ

What Is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ is probably a disorder you’ve heard of before. It’s an umbrella term describing several types of dysfunctions that affect the temporomandibular joints which connect the mandible to the skull. Rather than a single condition, TMJ is a complex condition thought to be caused by multiple factors, making symptoms wide ranging in both severity and appearance. One of the most common symptoms of TMJ is jaw pain or muscle soreness. If left unchecked, this pain can eventually limit the range of motion in the jaw, making it difficult to eat or speak without pain. However, several other TMJ related symptoms can exist with or without jaw pain. This includes pain in the neck and shoulders, vertigo or dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or frequent headaches.

Are Your Headaches Accompanied by Other Symptoms?

A study conducted at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine found that TMJ headaches are often misdiagnosed. Almost 82 percent of female patients who sought treatment for frequent headaches, also had symptoms of TMJ. Although researchers have not found a conclusive link between TMJ, frequent headaches, and migraines, the complex muscular structure of the skull, including the temporomandibular joint, can cause symptoms that are far-reaching. Some researchers have suggested a link between the trigeminal nerve, found at the base of the skull, and the prevalence of migraines.

How to Treat Your TMJ

The best way to treat headaches and other associated TMJ symptoms is by treating the problem source. Scheduling an appointment with your local dentist who specializes in TMJ-treatment is an excellent first step. Drug-free treatments such as bite splints which reposition your jaw during sleep in order to facilitate healing, have been known to decrease jaw pain and many other TMJ symptoms.

If you suffer from TMJ, it’s important that you are able to undergo the necessary treatment that you require, especially if you’re looking to put an end to your TMJ-related headaches, jaw pain, tinnitus, and other symptoms that cause you discomfort. Here at Dr. Dunayer’s office we will work with you to schedule an appointment time so that you can discuss possible TMJ treatment options. Call our West Nyack dental office at (845) 627-7645 or email us to set up a time that allows you to learn about TMJ and talk about your condition with Rockland County dentist Dr. Dunayer.