IS THAT HEADACHE RELATED TO YOUR TMJ, OR SOMETHING ELSE?
There are so many different types of headaches, but to the headache or migraine sufferer, a headache will usually mean just one thing – pain! Knowing the type and cause of your headache can, however, help you find an effective and even permanent cure to the problem.
If you have read Part 1 of our TMJ and headaches series, you are probably wondering how to tell the difference between a tension, cluster, sinus or TMJ headache. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
IS A TMJ HEADACHE DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER HEADACHE?
TMJ headaches are ‘sneaky’ in that they often mimic other types of headaches and may not present any significantly unique features or symptoms. These headaches often go misdiagnosed too, because TMJ is essentially a problem that is treated by dentists. Dentists are not usually trained in headache diagnosis or treatment, and so these headaches could go on for years without any positive outcome.
One unique trait of TMJ headaches is that they occur more often in women than men. In fact, the ratio is around 8 to 1. This has led many experts to believe that TMJ headaches could be related to a surge or deficiency in hormones. These studies are still ongoing, and we will bring you news of any latest findings as they occur.
HOW TO TREAT A TMJ HEADACHE
The best way to treat a TMJ headache is like any other type of headache. This may involve over the counter drugs, massage or alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Your dentist may also be able to help you by prescribing pain relief or giving you a mouth guard to stop excessive grinding or pressure on your jaw.
HOW TO GET THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
As we mentioned before, dentists and even many physicians simply do not have the training or knowledge to expertly diagnose headaches and prescribe the right course of treatment. This can lead to frustration and repeat visits to receive further treatment.
At the National Headache Institute, we specialize in headache diagnosis and treat all new patients in a personalized manner. This means we look at your lifestyle, your individual symptoms, treatment you have tried in the past and any other conditions or factors that could be causing your headaches.