The Connection Between TMD & Chronic Headaches

man holds his head in pain from TMD issues

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a disorder of the joint connecting the jaw and its surrounding muscles. Usually, TMD will affect the chewing muscles, but some patients feel the effects in other areas of the head and face. Those with TMD often complain of recurring pain in the head or face, lockjaw, and headaches.

How Does TMD Cause Headaches?

It’s not uncommon for pain to migrate from one area of the body to another. Since TMD starts in the jaw, this pain can migrate to other parts of the head and neck, causing pain and headaches.

How Is a TMD Headache Different from a “Regular” Headache?

TMD headaches often feel like tension headaches. With TMD headaches, however, the pain often spreads from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the neck, temple, or other parts of the head and neck.

If you’re experiencing symptoms like tenderness in the jaw, jaw clicks and/or pops, tinnitus, a change in how your jaw fits together, or a stiff jaw, then your headache could be TMD-related. It’s best to seek a medical opinion if you feel you have TMD.

What Can I Do?

While doctors still don’t know everything about TMD, there are some steps you can take to help alleviate symptoms and protect your jaw from further damage.

  • Avoid foods that require strenuous chewing.
  • Try hot or cold compresses. Heat can relieve stiffness, while cold can reduce swelling.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications can be used until you see your doctor. Avoid taking them for longer than 2 weeks and see your doctor ASAP.

Family Friendly Dental Services in Tyler, Texas!

At Tyler Family Dentistry, we want our patients to be comfortable and cared for when they visit our office. If you’re suffering from TMD, don’t hesitate! Call our office today to schedule your appointment with our experienced staff!

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