Migraines are a mysterious condition that doctors don’t have fully figured out. If you’ve suffered a migraine, you know how debilitating it can be. An astounding 12% of the population suffers from migraines. That may not seem like a high percentage, but when you consider that more than 4000 people have chronic daily migraines, it puts into perspective how prevalent this neurological disorder really is.

woman suffering from migraine, sitting on her couch at home

What Are Migraines?

A migraine is a severe headache that presents itself as throbbing or pulsing—usually on one side of the head. In most cases, migraines occur with extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. Migraines have been known to last from a few hours to days and are crippling while the pain persists. For many people, an ‘aura’ is the first sign of a migraine. This can display as blind spots, flashes of light, tingling on one side of the body or face, and difficult speech.

What Causes Migraines?

Even though migraines are not fully understood, there seems to be several causes of migraines. Each person’s migraine is unique to them, so all of these causes may not be problems for everyone. Look at the list below to find what may be triggering your migraines.

  • Hormonal changes in women: Women are far more likely to get a migraine compared to men. Changes in estrogen due to pregnancy, menstrual periods, menopause, or the addition or subtraction of birth control can all trigger migraines.
  • Drinks: While overendulging at the bar may result in a hangover headache, a migraine can be triggered by alcohol minutes after drinking it. Having too much caffine may also trigger a migraine.
  • Stress: Stress is a major cause of many disorders, and migraines is one of those disorders.
  • Sensotry Stimuli: Loud noises, fashes of light, and strong smells such as second hand smoke have been known to trigger a migraine.
  • Sleep Changes: Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can cause a migraine.
  • Physical Exertion: Exerting too much energy physically such as when exercising can begin a migraine.
  • Changes in Weather: Changes in air pressure can cause migraines headaches in some people.
  • Medications: In people who suffer chronic migraines, your other medications may be the blame. Check with your doctor to see if medication may be causing your migraines.
  • Food and Food Additives: Certain foods may cause migraines. Dairy, gluten, the added sweetener aspartame, and preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG) are all thought to cause migraines. Skipping meals could also prompt migraine headaches.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD): TMD, or more commonly called TMJ, is classified by the pain and impared movement of the jaw and jaw joints. A major symptom of TMJ is headaches, and sometimes migraines.

The Link Between TMJ and Migraines

The link between TMJ and migraines is tricky because they are known to be reciprocal. TMJ pain can trigger a migraine and a migraine can trigger TMJ pain. With researchers and doctors still studying migraines, its hard to give a difiniate answer on what the cause of your migraine is. However, its known that a teniosn headaches can induce a migraine, and that tension headaches are often caused by TMJ. This is one theory.

With a misaligned jaw, your masseter, temporal, and two pterygoids muscles can become strained and inflamed. These are the muscles that allow you to move your jaw. In this same area of your head is the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sending signals to your jaw from your muscles—its also a key factor in the progression of migraines. When pain occurs in the jaw due to TMJ, signals in the trigeminal nerve can become jammed, overwhelming the nerve and causing a migraine in those who are susceptible.

How Do I Know if My Migraines and TMJ are Linked?

Although headaches and migraines are a common symptom of TMJ, if you have TMJ, there are likely other symptoms present. Read the TMJ symptom list below.

  • Jaw pain
  • Locked-jaw: Difficulty closing or opening the jaw
  • Pain when chewing or yawning
  • Earaches
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Neck pain, back pain, face pain, or shoulder pain
  • Clicking or jaw joint popping
  • Jaw clenching and tooth grinding (bruxism)
  • Excessive tooth wear
  • Bite that feels “off”
  • Tinnitus (ringing or other sounds in the ears)
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers

If you’re experiencing multiple of the above TMJ symptoms as well as migraines, it is worth it to explore the possibity that your migraines and TMJ are linked. Contracting your dentist in Spokane Valley is a great starting point in your journey to pain relief.

Migraine Treatment Options

Since migraines are known to have been caused by many different factors, there are several treatment options that may help.

If you’re migraines are caused by stress, depression and anxiety treatment could help. If you’re migraines are caused by medications or birth control, switching up your medications could relieve your migraines.

In some cases when migraines caused by a temporary state, such as preganancy or menstural cycles, medications to alleviate the pain when it happens, or medications to prevent migraines may be necessary.

Lifestyle changes could be the key to managing your migraines. Try avoiding dairy, gluten, and alcohol and your migraines might ease. Additonally, getting more sleep, avoiding places that are known to have sensory stimuli (like a party with a strobe light), or exercising in intervals instead of lots of exertion at once could relieve pain from migraines.

Finally, TMJ treatment may be the golden ticket to reducing your migraines.

TMJ Treatment for Migraines

Talk to your Spokane Valley TMJ dentist about TMJ treatment. Doctors Ken and Marnie Collins are neuromuscular dentists who specialize in treating TMJ. Using a K7 machine, the doctors will evaluate your bite to determine where the stress that is causing your pain is coming from. After deciding where the pain is originating, your neuromuscular dentist will suggest treatment optoins.

Options could include, periodic TENS massage, coronoplasty, bite splint, full mouth reconstruction, BOTOX ® Injection and orthodontics. The most common treatment for TMJ is a bite splint. This is a splint that you wear at night which holds your jaw in the correct position, relieving pain.

What Are the Next Steps in reducing Migraines and TMJ?

If you suspect your migraines may be caused by TMJ, its time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ken or Dr. Marnie Collins in Spokane Valley, WA. Our neuromuscular dentists are experts in treating TMJ and have decreased jaw pain, headache pain, and migraine pain in many patients.

  1. Schedule an appointment online or call (509) 927-2273
  2. Visit our office for treatment
  3. Live pain-free

It’s that easy. Don’t take our word for it though, take a look at our glowing reviews to see for yourself. Don’t wait for pain relief, take your life back by calling (509) 927-2273 today.