Find out if your headache is caused by problems with the jaw joint

You may belong to a group of several million people in the world constantly suffering from a headache. Blood pressure is fine, you don’t have a cold or ear problems, but you still experience pain in the lateral parts of the head, neck, around the ears, in the occiput or in the lower jaw or even the teeth. The type of pain, its frequency, and the time it occurs is sure of major importance when setting the diagnose, but more and more often and in the greater part of the population these typical headaches are actually caused by problems with the jaw joint. By closely watching your symptoms you can easily distinguish a common headache from a headache caused by problems in the jaw joint.

The expert team of the Dental Center Dr. Batkoski reminds you that a headache caused by the joint is most frequently related to:

  • Cracking and clicking in the joint whilst opening or closing the jaw
  • Experience with present or past locking of the joint, with the inability to open or close the jaw
  • History of joint sprains
  • Tenderness of the lower jaw muscles and finger numbness
  • Facial pain
  • Earache or buzzing

Namely, the jaw joint is the only mobile joint of the head, linking our lower jaw with the skull. This joint is coordinated by several muscles which are in fact responsible for opening and closing the mouth and making other movements of the lower jaw.

During a single day the joint opens and closes the jaw hundreds of times, at speaking, chewing, etc. but many individuals very often overuse the joint, additionally leading it to a parafunction, i.e. unnecessary overusing the joint, such as with chewing gyms, unconscious tongue thrusting, nail or pencil biting, grinding with the teeth from the upper and lower jaw called bruxism. All there parafunction additionally load the joint and may cause pain.

Other factors leading to changes in the jaw joint are:

  • Acute inflammations of the joint or nearby muscles
  • Improper bite (overbite or underbite) between the upper and lower jaw
  • Trauma (fall, collision)
  • Stress
  • Missing teeth, etc.

The treatment for easing the headache symptoms caused by jaw problems can include:

  • Stabilizing splints (made of plastic or rubber), placed between the jaws, while the joint is in its most convenient position
  • Deprogrammers (at overloaded muscles or acute inflammations of the muscles – to enable muscle relaxation)
  • Antidepressants, having an effect on muscle relaxation
  • Botox (to relax the muscles and lower their strength)
  • Acupressure
  • Physical therapy and exercises

Release your pain. Visit your dentist. Describe your symptoms. The examination of your teeth, joints, and muscles may be enough for your dentist to set the right diagnose. Firstly, the acute pain symptoms should be relieved, relax your muscles and joints, and then, without exception, find out the cause leading to the condition (genetic factors, bad fillings, bad bridges, deep bite, missing teeth, stress, etc.). It is necessary to fix the condition (changing the fillings or bridges, wearing the orthodontic device – braces, setting implants, etc.) and in doing it, remove the risk factors that would lead to healing of the joint and muscles.