Waking up with a headache – especially when you’re not sick and you don’t know what’s brought it on in the first place – can really throw off your morning. You’re distracted, you’re in pain and, if you have a busy day or errands to run, it’s killed any motivation you had the night before.

If you know this isn’t just a tension headache, it’s time to get to the root of the problem so you can work toward a solution. Have you considered your headache might be starting in your jaw?

Doctor massaging a female patients jaw line

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders and Headaches

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, happens when you put too much stress on the temporomandibular joints, which allow you to hinge and move your jaw. Feel near your earlobes, where your jaw connects to your cheekbones. If this area feels tight or sore, or if you feel like your headache is starting in this area, you might be suffering from TMJ.

TMJ, unfortunately, is a common condition, and that’s no surprise: in a constantly connected world where we’re under more pressure than ever to do more and fill our free time, stress levels remain high, especially among millennials, according to the American Psychology Association’s 2017 State of the Nation. And while stress isn’t the only cause of TMJ, it is one of them.

Is It Really TMJ, or Is It “Just a Headache?”

If you believe your headaches are caused by TMJ, don’t stress out; here at Collins Dentistry and Aesthetics, Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins can help you treat your TMJ and get rid of headaches throughout the day. The first step is determining whether your headaches are caused by TMJ. Come to our office; we can diagnose and treat your TMJ, but there are warning signs to watch out for.

If, along with your headaches, you’re experiencing one of the following symptoms, you may have TMJ:

  • Jaw pain, soreness or tightness
  • Clicking or popping in the temporomandibular joint
  • Tooth grinding or jaw clenching
  • More-than-normal wear on the teeth
  • Tinnitus, or a persistent high-pitched ringing sound in the ears
  • Neck or back pain
  • Tingling feeling in the tips of the fingers

In the office, we have a K7 Evaluation System, which measures jaw function and the muscles responsible for biting and chewing. The K7 machine tells us whether you have a disordered bite and, if so, we can get to treating your TMJ immediately.

How to Relieve TMJ-Related Headaches

Ready to relieve your headaches? So are we. There are a few different ways to treat TMJ, and what works for you might not work for others. With guidance by the K7 machine, we’ll determine which treatment is right for you and get to curing the problem. Here are just a few ways we treat your TMJ:

  • TENS massages. A TENS machine can relax the temporomandibular muscles and offers immediate relief for many of our patients.
  • Bite splint. A bite splint looks similar to a clear retainer. It helps keep your jaw in the correct position, and helps prevent bruxism.
  • BOTOX injection. Did you know BOTOX isn’t just cosmetic? By injecting BOTOX directly into your jaw muscles, you can relax tense muscles to relieve pain and headaches associated with TMJ.

These aren’t TMJ cures. They provide relief, and they may cause your TMJ to go away for an extended period of time, but you may need recurring or even constant treatment to keep your symptoms under control.

The Headaches Aren’t Permanent

If you’re dealing with recurring headaches as a result of untreated TMJ, you don’t have to for much longer. Here at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane Valley, expert dentists Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins can make your smile brighter and relieve pain, too.

To schedule an appointment with Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics, please call (509) 927-2273 today, or send us an email.