Problems with the jaw joint, known collectively as temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders, can cause severe headaches that may seem similar to migraines. In some cases, TMJ can lead to migraines, but the condition can also cause regular headaches.
TMJ causes headaches for a variety of reasons. The condition can strain and stress the muscles of the head and neck, leading to tension headaches. TMJ may also put pressure on nerves and blood vessels that leads to headache.
With migraines, the headache often arises from a problem with the trigeminal nerve. This is true in TMJ-related migraines, too. The TMJ can put pressure on this nerve, starting the physiological cascade that ultimately results in a migraine.
If you suffer from TMJ-related headaches or migraines, an oral surgeon may be able to give you relief. Surgery to correct damages to the jaw structure can be very effective for relieving headaches associated with TMJ. Surgical interventions for TMJ may correct problems with the cartilage, or it can entail a joint replacement.
Other treatments for TMJ disorders include pain management through medication, counseling for stress relief, physical therapy or muscle relaxation techniques. These options may work for many patients, but if an oral surgeon can identify a deficiency in the jaw, surgery may be the only strategy that will resolve it permanently.
Migraines that are not associated with TMJ disorders, on the other hand, are often addressed using prescription medications or by adjustments to a patient’s routine that help them to avoid migraine triggers.
In most cases, a migraine will be accompanied with more severe pain and may involve other sensory disruptions, a phenomenon known as an aura, although auras are not always present with migraines. Patients with migraines may also have light sensitivity, nausea or diarrhea.
For a definitive diagnosis of the cause of your headaches in the Dallas area, you should consult with your physician as well as our experienced oral surgeons at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery. This step will ensure that you get the most effective treatment for your case.