Do you suffer from migraines? If so, you are not alone. This is a chronic and painful affliction that affects thousands of people.
Even though migraines have been known and treated for decades, migraines remain a rather mysterious ailment. Medical science still does not have a consensus on what causes migraine headaches, and these migraines often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. For example, many people who are diagnosed with migraine headaches actually suffer from headaches caused by a different problem, temporomandibular joint disorder—or TMJ, for short. TMJ refers to any dysfunction that occurs in your temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull.
What happens during a migraine?
If you suffer from migraine headaches, then your brain chemistry changes while a migraine is happening. During a migraine, your serotonin levels experience a significant drop, while your trigeminal nerve releases signaling compounds that travel to the outer covering of your brain, where they trigger impulses of pain.
The trigeminal nerve plays a crucial role in migraines or any other type of tension headache. MRIs and other diagnostic tools have shown that the trigeminal nerve is stimulated during a migraine headache or any type of tension headache. TMJ aggravates the trigeminal nerve because the temporomandibular joint itself is located very close to the trigeminal nerve. No other neural pathway in your body—not even the spinal cord—transmits more sensory input to your brain. The trigeminal nerve becomes impacted by a case of TMJ because the dysfunction in the jaw joint spreads to the jaws themselves, and then goes on to affect the surrounding muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
How are TMJ headaches misdiagnosed as headaches?
Tmj headaches and migraines share many of the same symptoms such as :
- Pain, which can be measured anywhere from a range of acute to severe, or be described as throbbing
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound
- Nausea or even vomiting
- Distorted vision
If you have TMJ headaches, then your headaches will not have the desired response to normal migraine medications and treatments. These treatments will only manage the intensity of the headache symptoms, but do nothing to reduce how often they occur. Have you been living with migraines for an extended period of time (at least longer than a year) and struggled to find relief from normal migraine treatments? If so, TMJ could be the real culprit behind your headaches.
Because it can be difficult to differentiate TMJ headaches from migraines, it is important to seek the care of a physiological dentist in Solihull, Birmingham, Dr Singh on this matter. Dr. Singh uses his training in physiological dentistry to determine the optimum alignment of your bite and jaw, and then achieve that alignment—usually through a regimen of oral appliance therapy. This entails wearing a mandibular advancement device that brings your jaws back into alignment and alleviates the stress being exerted on your temporomandibular joint. Dr.Singh can detect if you have a case of TMJ and treat any subsequent issues stemming from the disorder—such as painful headaches of migraine-like intensity.
How does it work?
Some people grind or clench their teeth at night. The night guard helps to reduce the migraine or a bite adjustment.
An initial examination will take 20 minutes of your time.
Sometimes our jaw is in the wrong position for the teeth to bite. Then the migraine starts. Dr Singh has a method that is used to check this type of problem and give results within a few minutes.
“I struggled to find relief for my migraines for 10 years. After Dr Singh treated me a few years ago. I experienced an instant relief of migraines, tension in my back, neck and shoulders after wearing the hard night guard. It sounds dramatic to say “I have my life back” but that is how I feel.”
Hard night guards helped our patients because oour dentist designs one specifically for your jaw. At the very least, it prevents the TMJ problems getting worse and other things like tooth fractures, chipped teeth, and further enamel breakage. Consider wearing one during the day, as well, particularly if you find sitting at the computer, as an example, causes more clenching.