Headaches to Chew On

Headaches can come from many sources. Aside from pain medication, permanent relief comes from figuring out the pain's source. When seeking out resolution, one source to keep in mind is Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder.

The most common symptom in TMJ Disorder is a headache. These headaches present in the temple area and can include piercing pain behind the eyes. Facial pain can occur due to tight chewing muscles.  TMJ Disorder can be a contributing factor in migraines. This situation occurs when jaw protrusion leads to postural compensation. As the head and neck protrudes forward, strain occurs on the neck muscles, leading to migraines.

Other symptoms of TMJ Disorder include:

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                clicking & popping

            lock jaw

ear pain

ringing in the ear

dizziness

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The TMJ attaches the mandible to the skull. The mandible is separated from the temporal bone by a fibrous disc. This disc moves with the mandible during all jaw movements. The disc is limited in its movements by ligaments that control the alignment of the disc and the jaw.

The disc can be displaced by trauma, including whiplash.  Displacement of the disc can gradually occur with a bad bite. From either source, the ligaments become injured, keeping the disc out of place and limiting or extending the jaw's movement.

Common solutions for TMJ disorders include night mouth guards, stress reduction, physical therapy, and avoiding chewing gum. These therapies often have limited success in relieving TMJ associated pain. None of the above address the ligament instability in the joint.

Prolotherapy, or Regenerative Injection Therapy, is an effective treatment for ligament instability. Prolotherapy is the injection of a substance that causes a local, controlled inflammatory response. This response draws cartilage cells and fibroblasts into the area. The treatment enhances the growth and formation of new ligaments and cartilage in the joint. Four treatments are typically given over a twelve week period. The end result is that Prolotherapy improves range of motion of the joint, helps prevent dislocation and relieves pain.

To explore if Prolotherapy would resolve your headaches, contact Dr. Deirdre O'Neill at Sage Clinic Victoria. 250-590-7809