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Headaches & TMJ Disorder


Headaches: Frequent headaches can affect your ability to sleep and function throughout the day. There are well over 100 different types of headaches, though three of the most common are tension headaches, which affect the top of the head; cervicogenic headaches, headaches that originate from conditions in the neck; and migraine headaches, which are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

Family history, neck stiffness and stress are common factors that contribute to headaches. After reviewing your symptoms, a treatment plan will be recommended and may include adjusting and mobilizing the joints of the cervical and thoracic spine, muscle release techniques and therapeutic exercise. Recommendations may also include ways to prevent recurring headaches, such as life and work style changes, nutritional changes, an eye examination or a glare-free computer screen.

While conservative care, including chiropractic care and massage therapy, is recommended for the effective management and resolution of common headaches, it is important to seek immediate attention if your headache is sudden and severe, follows a head injury, is accompanied by fever, weakness, numbness or difficulty speaking.

TMJ Disorder: TMJ disorder is a term for acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Found just in front of your ear, it’s the joint that connects your mandible to your skull. Some of the more common causes and contributing factors to deveoping TMJ disorder include bruxism (teeth grinding), trauma, excessive nail biting, degenerative joint or autoimmune diseases and dental procedures.

The pain of TMJ disorder is often described as a dull, aching pain comes and goes in the jaw joint and nearby areas. However, some people report no pain but still have problems using their jaws. Symptoms can include pain or stiffness in the jaw, neck and/or shoulder muscles, chronic headaches, limited movement or locking of the jaw, ear pain or pressure, painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth, and/or a bite that feels “off”. Less common symptoms include ringing in the ears (tinnitus), dizziness, and vision problems.

Conservative treatment of TMJ disorder may include therapeutic ultrasound, intraoral myofascial therapy, therapeutic exercises, and/or instrument-assisted or manual adjusting, as indicated. A referral to your dentist or medical doctor may occur if a night splint or labwork is indicated.