Tension Headaches vs. TMJ Headaches: What’s the difference?

Dr. Mike DeldarTMJ1 Comment

tension headaches vs TMJ headaches
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Nearly everyone has experienced a headache at some point in their life.

But some people endure painful headaches on an almost daily basis. They’ve been struggling for years to find some relief.

Often, people who suffer from headaches hear from healthcare practitioners that the cause of their pain is tension. Due to their bad posture or stress, their muscles are constantly tense. This can result in pain.

But when they’ve tried various remedies promising tension headache relief they didn’t get the results they were hoping for. The reason for this could be that what they’re dealing with isn’t a “simple” tension headache. They’re likely dealing with a TMJ headache.

What are TMJ headaches? What treatment options are available to treat these types of headaches?

What’s the difference between TMJ headaches and tension headaches?

What can cause tension headaches

What is the TMJ? This abbreviation refers to the temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint.

Can TMJ disorder  cause headaches? Absolutely – especially if you have some sort of anatomical misalignment that puts stress on the muscles of the head and neck.

TMJ headaches and tension headaches share a lot of symptoms. This is why it can be difficult for some people – including doctors – to distinguish between the two.

Some symptoms they share include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the muscles of the head
  • Aching facial pain
  • Tight muscles in the head and neck

How do these two types of headaches differ?

A tension headache is often described as feeling like a person has a tight band around their head. The band is continually squeezing, causing pain, and never feels like it’s going to let up.

The location of the pain and stiffness that accompanies these headaches is in the forehead, sides, and back of the head.

On the other hand, TMJ headaches or headaches induced by TMJ disorderinclude these symptoms:

  • Pain/tenderness in the jaw joint
  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Cracking, clicking, or popping noises in the jaw joint
  • Earache or pain around the ear
  • Locking jaw joint

But the grim reality is that the TMJ disorder can also cause tension headaches. This is party due to the fact that the lower jaw is held by facial muscles and ligaments. If the TMJs are not functioning correctly, you have compensation happening in the facial muscles, ultimately leading to tension headaches, facial pain , and tight muscles in the head and neck.

Is it possible to treat – or even prevent – TMJ headaches or tension headaches caused by TMJ disorder?

If the pain you experience feels like it might be a TMJ headache as opposed to a tension headache, what can you do to find relief?

Like the symptoms, TMJ headache relief can be similar to tension headache relief.

If you feel a headache coming on, do your best to relax your muscles. You might try doing some deep breathing or meditation, which can reduce the tension in your muscles.

You might be able to find TMJ and tension headache relief from a chiropractic adjustment or regular massage therapy appointments.

Massage is a great tool for reducing muscle strain and improving flexibility. Plus – it feels wonderful. That itself can help reduce stress and tension.

If you experience regular TMJ headaches and have tried the above already, you’ll most  likely need a TMJ dental treatment to give you immediate and long-term pain relief.

Some common treatments for TMJ patients that we offer at our Indianapolis TMJ/Noblesville dentist office:

  • Seeing a physical therapist who can help TMJ patients reduce instances of clenching and grinding
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Night guards
  • Orthotic devices
  • TENS treatments
  • Trigger point injections
  • Adjusting the bite or changing it with crowns and fillings

Our comprehensive TMJ treatment plan includes a few steps. It starts with immediate pain relief with Ultra-Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS). It’s 100% drug free. . This technique improves blood flow and promotes natural pain relief from endorphins. Send us a message to learn more! . . . . . #headaches #vertigo #dizziness #noblesville #carmelin #carmel #indy #indydentist #indianapolis #bestofindy #noblesvilleindiana #fishersindiana #carmelindiana #loveindy #igersindy #visitindy #hoosergrammers #igersindiana #igersmidwest #indianamade #andersonindiana #indianasmallbusiness #indianawellness #migraines #jawpain #indyhealth #indywellness #tmd #facehurts #tmjindianapolis

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For now, prevent pain and stiffness by monitoring your diet. Avoid chewing gum and reduce the number of crunchy or hard foods you eat, like carrots and French bread.

Improve your quality of life by finding the right treatment option for your pain

Dealing with chronic headaches can suck all of the joy out of your life. It makes day-to-day living really difficult, let alone trying to add any extra, fun projects into your life.

We don’t believe people should have to live this way. There is a way to improve your quality of life – by treating the root cause of the problem.

In order to do that, you need to find out what the problem is in the first place.

If you’ve been to multiple doctors to find tension headache relief without success, you may need to visit a dentist instead.

Dentists are more likely to be able to treat TMJ headaches because their area of expertise is the anatomy of the head and neck.

When you come to our office to find tension headache relief, we’ll conduct a number of diagnostic tests to find the best way to treat your condition.

Once we get an accurate diagnosis, then we’ll be able to provide treatment options that will finally set you free from pain. And that will be a huge step toward improving your overall quality of life.

If you’ve been struggling for years from tension headaches, we might have a solution for you. The problem might not be tension at all – it might be your anatomy. We can help you find a solution. Contact us today.

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