Your head aches and feels like someone is squeezing it — in fact, the tension is so significant, it is extending to your neck and shoulders. If this sounds like you, you may pass it off as stress or a tension headache. However, you may also consider that a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) could be a cause of your tension headache.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine conducted a study to find out if TMD was often being mistaken for tension headache. Because the symptoms of each condition are similar, some patients were experiencing TMD as the underlying cause of their tension headaches.
What is TMD?
TMD is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the jaw. This can occur when some portion of the hinge joint and protective cartilage that makes up the jaw starts to erode or wear down. While wear-and-tear is a common cause, sometimes TMD pain stems from unknown causes. Some common symptoms include pain in the jaw, trouble chewing, locking of the jaw joint, clicking of the jaw joint and headache that results in tenderness in the jaw that can radiate down the neck.
Find Relief from TMD
At New City Family Dental, we see many patients who experience TMD symptoms. When they are severe, a person’s symptoms can make it difficult to talk or eat. Fortunately, we can offer interventions that help patients find relief. This includes custom-mouthpieces designed to keep the jaw in a more neutral position while also preventing stress and tension-related teeth grinding. Additional interventions can include over-the-counter pain relievers and warm compresses.
We understand that our New City, NY dentist patients lead stressful, busy lives. Both tension headaches and TMD can result from stress that causes you to clench your jaw, wearing down jaw joint portions. If TMD is causing stress headache-like symptoms, treating the underlying cause (TMD) can help you find relief. Often, ignoring TMD symptoms will only cause them to worsen because you haven’t changed the behaviors or triggers that caused the condition in the first place.
If you frequently experience TMD-like symptoms, including tension headaches, make an appointment to see our New City dentists. One of our caring professionals can evaluate your symptoms and help you find relief from what can be a debilitating condition.