When your jaw is out of balance, your other muscles may experience additional tension, which can cause pressure on nerves, and even pull your neck vertebrae out of alignment. Once your neck vertebrae are out of balance, the imbalance can progress down your spine, leading to pinched nerves and more.
TMJ and Migraine Headaches
One of the most common and debilitating symptoms of TMJ is severe headaches. These include both migraine and tension headaches.
Because your jaw muscles work with other muscles in your head and neck, an imbalance in your jaw joint can create tension in your head, resulting in tension headaches, which can be frequent and severe as migraines.
These tension headaches can also serve as migraine triggers. Worse, TMJ may cause migraine headaches by irritating the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is recognized as the trigger point for migraines, and it runs right by the temporomandibular joint, the source of TMJ.
Clinical studies have shown that TMJ treatment can reduce the frequency and severity of tension headaches and the frequency (but not severity) of migraine headaches.
How Treatment Works
TMJ treatment begins with TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), an electrical massage that relaxes your muscles and releases endorphins, which function as natural painkillers.
With your muscles relaxed, we can determine your jaw's ideal rest position. We use three primary tools to build a scientific foundation for diagnosis and treatment:
- Computerized jaw tracking identifies irregular jaw movement.
- Electromyography (EMG) measures electrical activity in your muscles to show when they are working and when they are resting.
- Electrosonography (ESG) uses the sound of your joint to identify any destructive or degenerative processes in the TMJ.
Once we have determined the degree and type of your TMJ, we can recommend treatment.
For some people, regular TENS massage keeps the jaw in alignment and avoids muscle tension. Other people may need to wear an orthopedic mouthpiece while they sleep. Other people may need dental restorations as part of a full mouth rejuvenation to build up teeth to support the jaw and muscles. In rare cases, joint surgery may be recommended.
For additional information about TMJ or to schedule your evaluation, please call (843) 706-2999 Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in Hilton Head.