Are Your Migraines and TMJ Related?

Migraines and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder are related in some ways but different in others. Both can cause intense pain, and they sometimes occur at the same time. But the causes and treatment options for migraines and TMJ differ significantly. In this article from Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood and Murfreesboro TN, we will focus on TMJ. 
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull just in front of the ear. Its two hollow cylinders can move forward and back, apart and together, and rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. These movements are necessary for chewing, speaking, resting your chin on your hands, and other everyday activities 
When these movements become difficult or painful, the condition is called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Although it used to be called “facial arthritis,” TMJ disorder is not an inflammatory condition and does not involve the joints of the face or other areas of the body. However, it can lead to damage of the muscles of the face, which in turn can cause difficulty speaking or chewing
What causes TMJ disorder?
In some people, trauma (such as a blow to the head) can cause TMJ disorder. But in most people, its cause is not well-understood. Researchers have found that factors such as stress  and how you bite may play a role in causing or maintaining TMJ disorder.
Researchers have found that factors such as stress and how you bite may play a role in causing or maintaining TMJ disorder.
A study of 23,000 people showed that women are about 1.5 times more likely than men to develop TMJ disorder. This difference is largely due to women being more than 10 times more likely than men to experience stress-related triggers for the condition1.
Research also shows that individuals who clench their teeth (usually when sleeping or during a migraine attack) are five times more likely to develop TMJ disorder than those who do not. 
How you bite may also play a role in developing TMJ disorder. A certain type of misalignment of the teeth (transluminal displacement) may trigger the symptoms of TMJ disorder. This misalignment occurs when the front teeth are positioned forwardly with respect to the back teeth
Diagnosing TMJ disorder
Although there are some signs and symptoms that your dentist can look for when diagnosing TMJ disorder, such as pain while moving the jaw and tenderness around the joint, your dentist will likely recommend seeing a physician for a proper diagnosis
Treatment and prevention
For many people, treatment for TMJ disorder consists of medications to relieve symptoms  plus behavioral therapy (such as exercising the muscles around the joint)
Although some protective gear (such as mouth guards) may be recommended after injuries such as toothaches or sports injuries, they are not used for the treatment of TMJ disorder. So, don’t buy a mouth guard to treat your TMJ symptoms. Instead, talk with Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood and Murfreesboro TN about your symptoms and treatment options.