Did you know that headaches are one of the most common health problems in the world and are impacting on the lives of a considerable number of people regardless of age, geographic location or history!
Jaw pain also affects a large volume of people and is more common with women than men.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 50 to 75 percent of all people age 18 to 65 have had at least one headache within the last year.
Of those adults, 30 percent report a headache disorder, which means recurrent headaches, such as migraines, cluster headaches and tension headaches.
What Causes Headaches?
Many factors and combinations of factors can cause headaches, so the root cause is often hard to detect.
However, if you do suffer from recurrent headaches and from jaw pain, it is possible that the pain could be caused by TMD syndrome affecting your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
What is TMJ?
Located in front of your ears on either side of your head, the TMJ is a hinge that allows your jaw to move while you are talking or chewing. The joint can move up and down, side to side and back and forth. Unfortunately, when the TMJ is not working properly, it can cause pain and discomfort in many parts of the body.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder:
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Facial pain
- Neck pain and shoulder pain
- Jaw Popping
- Jaw locking
- Eye pain
One of the most common symptoms of TMJ, is a headache, but this is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because symptoms frequently mimic the sinus headache, the tension headache, the migraine headache and, sometimes, the cluster headache.
Signs headache and jaw pain may be connected to TMJ disorder
Jaw clicks or pops
Your jaw makes a clicking or popping sound when you open and close it. Joints that are working properly do not make noises. If you hear these noises in your jaw, it is a sign your TMJ is misaligned.
Painful jaw and bite is off
You are experiencing jaw pain or facial pain and your bite does not feel right. If your teeth are not coming together correctly, the TMJ cannot work properly. When your bite is off, you can experience pain in your forehead, the back of your head, your temples or in your neck and shoulders.
Snoring is a sign that your breathing during sleep is being disrupted. The position of your lower jaw can be a contributing factor to nocturnal breathing problems.
Another telling sign that TMJ may be causing you headaches is revealed in your posture. For correct posture, your head should be centred over your shoulders. If you tend to lean your head forward so that your head is in front of your shoulders when you are in an upright position, your neck muscles and vertebrae are under stress and strain.
Dental Care Professionals Can Help
If you suspect you have TMJ disorder, it is important you visit your dentist.
Your dentist will take a complete health history and perform a variety of tests to gain an understanding of the underlying cause of your headaches and to identify the most suitable form of treatment for you.
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