Nowadays, it is so common for us to suffer from headaches. It is crucial to understand exactly where the tension is coming from that causes these pains.
The most important aspect of a headache we need to understand is, what’s causing it? There are so many forms/types of headaches, all with different trigger factors. One of the lesser known triggers involves the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), most commonly referred to as ‘the jaw.’
So where’s the link? The major muscles that are attached to the TMJ run vertically up the side of your head. When we chew food, grind our teeth or clench our jaw; these muscles become tight and can be easily overworked.
Grinding teeth and jaw clenching are more commonly a response to stress, which we also know is a common trigger factor for headaches.
So how can we tell the difference? TMJ headaches typically occur alongside other symptoms such as; tightness in the jaw or facial muscles, jaw pain, jaw clicking, restricted jaw movement or changes to biting.
So what are some tips we can implement immediately to relieve pain?
Self-massaging these muscle can be very effective for short term pain relief, however, longer term we need to address the root of the issue and what is causing the clenching and grinding. The use of a mouth guard at night time for those grinding can have longer lasting effects. If clenching your jaw is stress related we need to focus on different areas to address this; mediation, exercise, and music are all great ways of controlling stress levels.
If you suffer from frequent headaches, it’s important to get checked out by a health professional as they can be a multifactorial pain with many layers of involvement.