Your dentist can help you cure recurring headaches or migraines, dentists can play a role in diagnosing and even treating your condition. That’s because quite often, recurring pain that is felt in the area of the temples on the sides of the head is actually caused by unconscious habits of clenching and/or grinding the teeth. These bad oral habits, which often manifest during sleep, put tremendous pressure on the muscles that work your jaw joint, also called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
What are migraines?
A migraine is a disease that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine-headaches can cause pain for hours.
The fan-shaped temporalis muscles located over your temples on either side of your head are two of several muscles involved in jaw movement. You can easily feel them working if you put your fingertips on your temples while clenching and unclenching your jaw. When temporalis muscles go into spasm from too much clenching, headache symptoms may result. This is not to say that headaches and migraines are always caused by TMJ problems, also known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But given the established link between them, it definitely bears looking into especially if a diagnosis remains elusive in your case.
What are the causes of headaches- migraines?
- Grinding of the teeth
- Clenching and Clamping of the teeth
- Chewing hard substances.
- Some medications.
- Hormonal changes in women.
- Environmental factors.
- Sleep pattern
What are the Symptoms of migraines-headaches?
- Mood changes, from depression to euphoria.
- Food cravings,
- Neck stiffness.
- Increased thirst and urination.
- Frequent yawning.
What are the risk factors?
- Family history.
- Hormonal changes.
How can you be Relief from headaches or migraines
The first thing you need is a thorough oral exam to determine if there is evidence of clenching or grinding (also known as “bruxing”) habit or TMD. If so, there are things you can do for immediate and long-term relief. Sometimes eating softer foods for a few days can reduce stress on the muscles and joints. Ice and/or moist heat can help relieve soreness and inflammation.
Also, a custom-made nightguard to wear when you sleep might be recommended. This plastic oral appliance, which fits over the teeth, can control or even eliminate clenching and be grinding, reducing pressure on the muscles that work the jaw and the jaw joint itself. Some users have reported that their headaches or even migraines are less frequent and/or less intense.
How Are Migraine Headaches Treated?
- Pain relief. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs often work well for some people. As with most medications during pregnancy, there is a possibility that your baby could be harmed if you take medicine to treat your headaches. Learn more about the drug that is safe to use during pregnancy
- Nausea medicine. Your doctor can prescribe it if you get nausea with your migraine.
- Preventive medicines. Gentle stretching exercises, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, and muscle relaxants can also provide relief.
- Biofeedback. This involves identifying the stressful conditions that might trigger it.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The device its placed at the back of the head. It helps reduces pain and boost energy
Will a nightguard or other TMD therapy relieve your headaches?
It depends on the source of the problem. But living with chronic headaches or facial pain is no fun so don’t delay scheduling an exam and a consultation.
When to see your doctor?
If you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches. Even if you have a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different.
- An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap.
- A headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking.
- A headache after a head injury, especially if a headache gets worse.
- A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement.
- New headache pain if you're older than 50 years of age.
- National Headache Foundation: "Migraine." Stewart, W. Annals of Neurology, ACCESSED 2019.
- Medical Clinics of North America, ACCESSED 2019.
If you have treated migraines-headaches before. share your record by commenting.
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