How to Ease TMJ Headaches

woman in sweater with headacheChronic, seemingly-unexplainable headaches are often signs of TMJ disorder—an umbrella term for a wide variety of issues concerning damaged or misaligned jaw joints. The problem with TMJ disorder is that, like a headache, it can result from a number of different causes. Besides headaches, it also entails a lot of other symptoms that could indicate many different conditions, such as sore neck and back muscles, frequent earaches, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). If you suffer from recurring headaches and haven’t found an accurate diagnosis, you can find temporary relief with a few at-home remedies. For permanent relief, however, Dr. Stewart strongly suggests scheduling a dental examination as soon as possible to determine if TMJ disorder is the reason.

Simple Solutions at Home

Though TMJ disorder has numerous causes, the reason for its wide range of symptoms is due to stress in your jaw’s nerve, which innervates the majority of your craniofacial structures. In the grips of a headache, you can help ease stress and tension by;

  • Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to relieve jaw muscle tension
  • Applying an ice pack to the side of your face to relieve pain (alternate with heat for best results)
  • Gently massage your jaw’s joints directly in front of and just below each ear
  • Relax with a warm bath, read a book in low (but sufficient) light, or listen to soft music to relieve built-up stress
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like Aspirin or Ibuprofen

Professional Treatment for TMJ Headaches

Temporary relief from your headaches can help you function better throughout your day, but it won’t solve the root of your problem. TMJ disorder requires a professional assessment and diagnosis, and treatment usually depends on the nature of your disorder. For instance, if your jaws are distressed because your teeth are crooked, which can throw your bite off-balance, then you might need orthodontic treatment to straighten them. In many cases, Dr. Stewart can prescribe a dental appliance designed to hold your jaw in a more comfortable position, allowing the joints and muscles to heal.

About Your Livonia Dentist:

As a highly experienced general and restorative dentist, Dr. Stewart is dedicated to helping all of our patients enjoy the benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile. James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.