Migraine Headaches and Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

June 21, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

Migraine headaches are a real pain. Not only do they cause head pain, that pain can radiate throughout the head and neck, and can cause nausea, dizziness, aura, and many other debilitating symptoms. Unfortunately, while diagnosing migraines solves one mystery, figuring out what causes them can be an even more difficult feat.

Doctors believe that migraines are often caused by irritation to the trigeminal nerve. We have two trigeminal nerves, located in the head. One trigeminal nerve runs to the right and the other to the left. The trigeminal nerves are responsible for the movement of the face. Unfortunately, the trigeminal nerves can be irritated by nearby joints, which cause a reaction that can trigger migraines. One of those joints is the temporomandibular joint, or the “TMJ” as it is sometimes referred to.

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. Sometimes, it can become misaligned from the rest of the jaw, causing pain in not just the joint, but the jaw, head, back, neck, and trigeminal nerves.

If you suffer from migraines but you aren’t sure why, ask yourself if you have been experiencing any of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Do you get frequent headaches? Does your neck hurt? Do you have trouble chewing, yawning, or speaking due to jaw pain? Do you grind your teeth, or have worn enamel or chipped or cracked teeth? Have you experienced persistent ringing in the ears? You could have temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and it could be causing your migraines.

If you suspect you could have temporomandibular joint dysfunction, consult Dr. Mingus for an evaluation. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is treatable with custom orthotics, physical therapy, and myofascial massage. Best of all, treating your temporomandibular joint dysfunction could help lessen the severity of or stop your migraine headaches.

If you suffer from migraine headaches, speak to your primary care physician about treatment options and see if your migraines could be caused by temporomandibular joint dysfunction. If they are, Dr. Mingus can get you on a treatment plan that will alleviate your temporomandibular joint dysfunction symptoms.