March 30, 2017

Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints in the world. They have a host of potential causes, each of which must be dealt with in their own way. Far too often, however, you may be inclined to automatically assume there is nothing to be done. Instead of investigating your headache, you may simply declare it a tension headache, head to the medicine chest for a pain reliever, and wait out the symptoms. While tension headaches are certainly a common complaint, in many cases you could actually be suffering from TMJ, a condition that can be treated to allow for a fuller, more pain-free life.

What is TMJ?

TMJ Disorder or TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. It is a problem that occurs when the hinge connecting the two jaw bones is not functioning properly. The true culprit is often grinding and clenching the teeth. Because it affects one of the most complex joints in the human body, the cause of TMJ can vary widely, but often manifests by certain signs and symptoms. This includes:

  • Clicking or sticking of the jaw
  • Popping sounds with movement of the jaw
  • Tender or painful jaw muscles
  • Pain with yawning or opening and closing the mouth
  • Changes in how the jaws fit together

Of course, the most common symptom is headache, with pain manifesting around the ears and behind the eyes.

Telling the Difference

How do you know if your headache is due to TMJ or something else? Tracking your symptoms is key to answering this question. When pain is caused by TMJ, you often notice a crackling or grinding sound with movement of your jaw. You may also experience facial tenderness and pain, earaches, or a stiffness in the jaw joint that makes it difficult to open or close your mouth. Conversely, TMJ pain should not cause migraine or severe headache symptoms, such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea or fatigue.

Knowing your symptoms and properly tracking them can help your dentist figure out the real cause of your symptoms. Call Waterside Dental’s office in Bradenton, FL today to learn what is really causing your headaches.



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