I often meet patients who suffer from migraines in my TMJ and dental practice who are always looking for solutions to cure their debilitating pain. They may mention their migraines in passing, not realizing that as a physiologic dentist, I may be able to help.
It all depends on what is triggering the migraines in the first place. Pain from migraines and factors that can set them off are specific to the patient.
Migraine from weather changes is very real for those who suffer when fluctuations occur.
When they search for answers to how to cure their migraines, they often develop causal links between their surroundings and activities. As they examine these patterns, they may start to conclude that they experience migraines and/or headaches because of weather. Especially so these days. It is spring, after all.
Are There Migraine Weather Triggers?
Can migraines be triggered by weather?
Some are surprised to learn that the weather can in fact be a trigger. Migraine from weather changes is very real for those who suffer when fluctuations occur. Some of the weather aspects that can bring an onset migraines include:
- bright sunlight
- increased humidity
- extreme temperatures
- dry air
- changes in air pressure
Increased humidity and changes in air pressure, in particular, are sensed or felt in the lining of our nasal sinuses.
The Trigeminal Nerve is connected to the our sinuses, teeth, gums and other parts of the mouth. Trigeminal Nerve overstimulation caused by changes in weather can lead to the “Brain Storm” that is thought to precede a migraine and/or headache.
Why is a Dentist Concerned with Migraine Pain?
When patients complain of chronic migraines, I consider it part of my responsibility as a physiologic dentist to investigate. That’s because people’s health is much more tied to their mouth and jaw than they realize.
When the way your teeth mesh together is imbalanced, this causes a misalignment of the jaw. This strains the muscles and tendons of the head and neck. A common consequence of the bite imbalance can be chronic clenching and grinding of teeth.
What does this have to do with weather patterns? Well, clenching and grinding of teeth is sensed and regulated by the nerve I just mentioned: the Trigeminal Nerve.
How Does TMJ Influence Migraines from Weather?
Overstimulation of the Trigeminal Nerve from clenching and grinding has the same effect as from weather changes.
And that’s what physiologic dentists like me specialize in: working with the hard and soft tissues, nerves and muscles surrounding the jaw and how they affect the body as a whole - in this case migraines and headaches.
The human jaw is like a feat of engineering. It is a well-designed joint that can work on a hinge while also having the ability to slide forward and backward. It’s incredibly strong and it is responsible for how we eat and how we communicate. It has a lot of responsibilities, and how well it works affects more aspects of our daily life than people realize.
When the jaw is not working well, it can actually be the culprit behind migraines. While I know that weather changes like glaring sunlight can trigger migraines, I also know that they can be triggered by TMJ disorder and it is my job to determine the difference.
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint that allows the jaw to open and close. TMJ disorder occurs when this joint is inflamed, or irritated causing pain such as migraines, earaches, and stiff muscles in the jaw.
As an LVI trained TMJ dentist, I am always looking for ways to improve the lives of my patients by providing them with TMJ care. By conducting a thorough examination I can determine if TMJ is the cause behind migraines, which means that I can offer more effective ways of relieving the pain.
How Can Migraines Caused by TMJ be Alleviated?
I am happy to say that I can effectively reduce a patient’s chronic migraine pain through my TMJ treatments - no painkillers and surgery necessary.
- It starts with using a TENS unit (Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation) to relieve pain and relax the jaw.
- Patients are then given a custom-built orthotic to stabilize their bite.
- Finally, they can pursue one of several avenues like orthodontics, to permanently correct their bite. A corrected bite means relief from migraines.
These procedures can have lifelong effects for my patients, and they can help improve their overall quality of life. When weather is the culprit, the solution is obviously much harder. Patients can’t very well control, or avoid the weather. That’s why understanding the root cause is vital to treatment.
TMJ Dentist Indy: A Focus on Treating the Whole Patient
It’s also why asking questions is so important. It is both important for me to ask questions of my patients and for them to ask questions of me. The dialogue created helps me to see the big picture, and to suggest possibly life-changing solutions. As a proud Noblesville dentist I appreciate the opportunity to constantly find ways to care for the whole patient from teeth to toes.
For those who think their migraines might be a combination of TMJ and weather changes, they can schedule a consultation with my office and see if our holistic approach can offer permanent migraine relief.
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