headaches caused by tmj

Are your Headaches being caused by TMJ Disorder?

headaches caused by tmjPoway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

Nothing can disrupt your day quite like a headache. Millions of people experience regularly occurring headaches, many of them painful enough to be debilitating and hinder their ability to work or carry out their daily routine. Maybe you know someone who lives with these types of headaches. Or maybe you are battling headaches like this yourself. However, you may not realize that headaches like this can be one of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder. Read on as your neuromuscular dentist in Poway Dr. Nicol Cook explores the link between TMJ disorder and headaches.

TMJ disorder relates to your jaws, so how does that cause headaches?

Your temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull. Whenever this joint starts to malfunction, this causes a case of TMJ disorder. If you develop TMJ disorder, then the problem quickly radiates to your jaw joints, as well as the surrounding musculature and nerves. One of the nerves located close to the temporomandibular joint is the trigeminal nerve; this nerve transmits a significant amount of sensory input to the brain. If you have TMJ disorder, the dysfunction may cause irritation, aggravation, or compression of the trigeminal nerve, sending impulses of pain to the brain that lead to frequently occurring headaches. If left untreated, eventually the pain may radiate from the head to the neck or even the back.

TMJ headaches and migraines are different varieties of tension headaches, which both involve the trigeminal nerve. Migraines have certain symptoms that are unique (such as the presence of a visual hallucination called an “aura” that precedes an attack), but generally speaking, it is rather common for someone suffering from headaches caused by TMJ disorder to be misdiagnosed as having migraines instead because general practitioners typically are not trained or experienced in dealing with TMJ disorder. When this happens, even the most potent migraine medication only will relieve the symptoms of a headache, doing nothing to diminish how frequently the headaches occur. Does this sound like something that you experience? If so, you should schedule an appointment with a neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Nicol Cook in Poway.

Can a dentist really treat headaches?

Yes! A neuromuscular dentist has specialized, intensive training that focuses on the alignment of the bite and jaw. This post-graduate education makes a neuromuscular dentist the best-qualified medical professional to diagnose a case of TMJ disorder. Dr. Nicol Cook has studied neuromuscular dentistry at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, where she received the designation of LVI Fellow. She can use her training to identify TMJ disorder, and then treat the problem by addressing whatever is stressing the temporomandibular joint. This treatment also will alleviate any symptoms being caused by TMJ disorder, including headaches.

Treating TMJ disorder in Poway

Millions of Americans suffer from TMJ disorder but never have their problem diagnosed or treated. Are you one of them? Don’t live with those painful headaches any longer. Let Dr. Cook provide you with an evaluation for TMJ disorder. To schedule an appointment, please call (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.