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City Acupuncture's Blog

Plagued with Migraines? TMJ Might be the Unexpected Source

Posted by Rob Benhuri

Apr 17, 2015 2:05:00 PM

young_woman_rubs_jawTMJ is an abbreviation that stands for the temporomandibular joint. Many use this term to refer to the pain they feel in the jaw and surrounding area. TMJ pain is quite common, and normally arises from some condition that places increased stress and use on this joint and the adjoining tissues. 

Common Symptoms and Causes of TMJ Pain

Activities that lead to TMJ pain include having misaligned teeth, biting on hard objects, grinding teeth during sleep or even inflammation in the actual joint itself. Additional common symptoms of TMJ include hearing popping and clicking noises when opening and closing the mouth, feeling tightness along the jaw, or having a sensation of pins and needles sticking in parts of the face.

Uncommon Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction

While most folks are familiar with the common symptoms and causes of TMJ pain, there are other conditions that are caused by a disruption in the normal operation of the temporomandibular joint. A perfect example of an uncommon symptom of TMJ dysfunction are a painful type of headache known as a migraine.

The exact cause of migraines isn't completely understood by scientists. Many in the medical profession believe that this type of headache is brought on by a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels leading to the brain. Many sufferers of this condition report that simple things such as exposure to intense light and loud sounds can trigger their headache.

How TMJ Triggers Migraine Pain

When someone has an issue with their temporomandibular joint, the muscles in the face and jaw are often in a constant state of tension. This tightening of the muscles in the face, neck and head is believed by some to trigger pain that is similar to migraines or other types of headaches, such as cluster headaches and pain brought on by sinus conditions. TMJ related pain can also cause changes in posture and lead to intense pain being felt in the shoulders and other parts of the back.

Simple Steps to Take at Home to Relieve Migraine Pain Triggered by TMJ

Reducing your levels of stress can help reduce migraines and other TMJ pain by helping your muscles to relax. Deep breathing exercises, and exercises that gently stretch your muscles, such as walking and yoga, can also help to reduce your stress level and lessen the amount of pain that you feel from TMJ and other conditions. 

Other steps that you can take to reduce the pain that you feel include eating soft foods and applying ice packs to the temporomandibular joint.

TMJ can cause pain in both the jaw and other areas of the body. The level of pain that is experienced varies from person to person, and can be quite severe. Acupuncture and simple self-care tips can help TMJ and migraine sufferers find relief. 

Do you have questions about TMJ dysfunction or migraine headaches?

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Topics: TMJ

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