People who experience recurrent headaches are often diagnosed as having TMJ Dysfunction. TMJ is an umbrella term which refers to acute or chronic inflammation of the Temporomandibular Joint, which connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull. The disorder and altered function that often accompanies it can result in significant pain and impairment. These problems often include jaw joint pain, clicking, dislocation, chronic headaches, sinus problems and even loss of hearing.
What Causes TMD?
The cause of TMJ Dysfunction is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck – such as from a heavy blow or whiplash – can cause TMD. Other possible causes include:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
- Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
- Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
- Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
Some common symptoms of TMD include toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitis).
A study headed by a well-respected researcher from the University at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine, showed that examiners could reproduce tension-headaches in eighty- two percent of subjects, by performing a comprehensive clinical examination, including palpation of the temporalis muscle, one of the key chewing muscles involved in TMJ Disorder.
Diagnosis for TMJ requires an examination by a physician or dentist who has advanced training and expertise in the area of head and neck pain.
If you experience any of the symptoms such as those listed in this article, you may be just an appointment away from being headache and pain free. Call us for a comprehensive examination. We can assist you in finding relief from these vexing symptoms.
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