Could your frequent headaches be caused by TMJ disorder? If you’ve been suffering from frequent headaches you may have TMJ disorder, a misalignment of the jaw that causes pain and swelling in your face, neck and jaw.
Dr. Jeff S. Luffey, DDS, is a TMJ dentist in Albuquerque, NM. Through neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Luffey can make your headaches (and migraines) less severe and frequent. He does this by treating neuromuscular triggers that could be causing your headaches.
What is TMJ Disorder?
Your temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the temporal bones (temples) of your skull. The TMJ is what lets you move your jaw up and down and from side to side. When there are problems with this joint and the surrounding muscles in the face, it is called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or TMJ disorder. When your TMJ joint is not aligned properly, it stains the muscles of the neck and face, causing your frequent headaches.
What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)?
Doctors aren’t entirely certain what causes TMD, but symptoms often arise after injury to your jaw, TMJ or the muscles in your face or neck, such as a heavy blow or whiplash injury. In addition to injuries, TMD is also caused by:
- Stress, which can cause the muscles in your jaw and face to tighten. It can also cause you to clench your teeth.
- Grinding your teeth, also called bruxism, puts pressure on the joints in our jaw.
- Movement of a small disc between the ball and socket of the joint.
To treat TMD and headaches caused by TMJ, you need to see a TMJ dentist like Dr. Luffey, whose office is located in Albuquerque, NM. As a TMJ dentist with special training in neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Luffey finds the optimal resting place for your jaw and fixes any misalignment in your bite. This gives you relief from your TMJ headaches and other painful symptoms.
Signs Your Headaches are Caused by TMJ Disorder
If you have pain in your forehead, temples, back of head or down your neck, it’s likely you’re having problems with your TMJ. Signs your headaches are caused by TMJ disorder include:
Chronic neck pain. If your TMJ is out of alignment, it forces your the muscles in the neck and face to become tired as they support your TMJ joints in an improper position.
Clicking/popping. If there is clicking and popping in your jaw when you open and close it, that’s a sign that your TMJ is out of alignment, or not in the proper position. The clicking and popping may come with pain; even if it doesn’t, it could cause pain in the future.
Misaligned bite. Does your bite feel “off”? If your teeth don’t fit together well, it’s likely that your TMJ is misaligned, causing your TMJ headaches.
Foreword head posture. Your head should be centered over your shoulders. If your head rests in front of your shoulders when you stand, this is called forward head posture, and it is a sign of TMD. When you have foreword head posture, it strains your muscles, causing TMJ headaches.
Other signs that your headaches are caused by TMJ disorder include toothaches, dizziness, earaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing problems and pain in the upper shoulders. To have your TMD properly diagnosed and treated, you need to see a TMJ dentist.
TMJ Dentist in Albuquerque, NM
Dr. Luffey has the special training needed to recognize TMJ disorder. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Luffey today by calling (505) 294-4700.