Is My Headache a Migraine or TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint is the joint where the lower jaw, or mandible, meets the skull at the temporal bone. This joint can be damaged or become misaligned due to problems with your teeth. If you have TMJ disorder, a common symptom is persistent headaches. If you experience persistent headaches, it’s important to properly diagnose them to ensure they are due to TMJ and not because of migraines or other problems. If you do have TMJ, your dentist can address it with appropriate treatment, which can vary from mouthguards to, in some cases, surgery to restructure the joint.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Because of the location of the temporomandibular joint, it can affect the functioning of several facial nerves. This means that the symptoms can be varied, and often are similar to symptoms caused by other issues, including migraines, ear infections, or even certain cancers. It’s very important to get an accurate diagnosis to be sure the underlying problem is TMJ and not another, potentially more serious problem.
Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Persistent headaches
- Persistent aching in the ear or the jaw
- Clinching or grinding
- Tension or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your dentist or doctor to determine the exact cause.
The Differences between TMJ Headaches and Migraines
If you have persistent headaches, there are some symptoms that could indicate that you are suffering from migraines rather than from temporomandibular joint disorder. Symptoms specific to migraines can include:
- Headache accompanied by nausea
- Extreme sensitivity to sound or light
- Visual auras
If your headaches are accompanied by any of these symptoms, they are more likely to be migraines then a result of TMJ disorder. However, if your headaches are accompanied by any other symptoms of TMJ, such as discomfort in the ears or jaw, or persistent teeth grinding, they may be the result of TMJ. Based on your final diagnosis, our dentist can determine the best treatment to reduce your discomfort.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Parham today!