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MIGRAINE: The TMJ Connection

Patients with severe or extreme headaches are often diagnosed with a migraine. Migraine headaches are caused by a disturbance of the trigeminal and vascular system to the head. Much about the causes of migraines are not fully understood and genetics and environmental factors may play a role. A migraine may be caused by chemical changes and imbalances within the brain and the trigeminal system. Common triggers of a migraine headache have been reported to be:

Migraines are considered as a diagnosis if patients complain of deep throbbing or pulsating pain in a local part of the head (usually on one side of the head). Also associated with these headaches are:

Patients with a TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder also present with severe head pain in the temple region.

Many patients with a TMJ problem are misdiagnosed by their physician with having migraine pain. In turn, some dentists diagnosis a true migraine as a TMJ problem.

There is an anatomical link between TMJ disorder and migraine headaches. The disc within the TMJ can displace in a forward and inside direction. That disc can press against a major artery and therefore a vascular type headache can develop. Therefore the symptoms between a true migraine and one from a TMJ source are the same. There are a certain percentage of patients that can have headache from both a migraine source and from a TMJ/Neck structural dysfunction source. Typically though, a true migraine will attack infrequently, occurring only 2-3 times per year. In those patients that suffer with headaches that occur on a weekly or daily basis, a true migraine cannot be considered a primary source without ruling out other factors.

In our practice, a diagnosis of migraine is only offered when all structural factors have been eliminated. Some factors to be considered include TMJ, neck, anatomical, postural and hormonal influences.

If You Suffer from TMJ or TMD Symptoms
Headaches - Migraines - Neck Pain - Facial Pain
Contact Dr. Louis Vita at the Vita Head Neck & Facial Pain Center today

Have Additional Questions? Call Now: 973.777.1933