The Unfortunate Link Between TMJ Pain And Migraine

TMJ Pain

Published on September 30th, 2019

Did you know that the cause of migraines can also reside in your mouth and jaw? And that there’s an unfortunate link existing between TMJ pain and migraine. Let’s delve into it a bit deeper.

There are two temporomandibular joints (TMJs) that connect the sides of our jaw to the skull. These joints help us to open and close our mouths when we eat, talk or yawn. If there is a pain in these joints or muscles, it can easily travel to your skull and cause a migraine. The TMJ pain can be treated as soon as you detect the signs.

Symptoms Of TMJ Disorder

  • Tight facial or jaw muscles
  • Restricting movement of the jaw
  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Clicking noise of jaw
  • Bite changes

Causes Of TMJ Pain

Handle Your Wisdom Teeth Issues

The cause of TMJ pain is not clear. It could be due to arthritis, or due to the trauma to the joint. Or it could be because of small but consistent traumas caused due to perpetual grinding or clenching of the teeth.

You may clench your teeth when stressed or grind your teeth at night while sleeping. You may not be aware that you are doing either of these. So, check these tell-tale signs.

Signs That You Clench Your Jaw Or Grind Your Teeth Include:

  • You may have sensitive teeth
  • You may have flat, chipped, broken, or loose teeth
  • You feel your jaw is tired or tight
  • You feel pain and soreness in jaw or face
  • You may have an earache, in spite of not having an ear problem

Another reason for TMJ pain leading to a migraine could be the issue with your bite. Bite issues usually crop up when you have a missing tooth or misaligned teeth. When you have a bite problem, the muscles in your jaw have to work harder to keep your upper and lower teeth coordinated.

Over time, this can pose a problem and cause TMJ pain leading to a migraine. The habit of chewing gum can also lead to TMJ pain. Continuous chewing puts a strain on your jaw, which can lead to pain and soreness in the jaw, subsequently causing migraines.

TMJ Pain Treatment

TMJ Pain

If your migraine is due to TMJ, treating the cause can treat the problem. For TMJ pain, a dentist is the professional you need to see. Your dentist will do a thorough check on your jaw, teeth, and your muscles to diagnose the problem.

If the TMJ pain is due to constant grinding or clenching of your teeth, your dentist may prescribe a mouthguard to be fitted over your upper or lower teeth at night to keep them apart so that you don’t grind your teeth while sleeping.

Although these mouthguards are available over the counter, it is recommended that you get your custom fit mouthguard done from the dentist. If the mouthguards don’t fit well, they can make you clench even more.

If your teeth are misaligned, the dentist may recommend dental treatments such as braces, crowns or oral surgery to correct your bite. If the stress is the reason you clench your teeth, do meditation, incorporate exercise for TMJ pain relief, etc. in your daily routine. Migraines due to TMJ are uncomfortable but can be treated. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and get it treated.

Author Bio

Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.

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Information provided by does in no way substitute for qualified medical opinion. Any text, videos or any other material provided by us should be considered as generic information only. Any health related information may vary from person to person, hence we advice you to consult specialists for more information.