June 16, 2017
When you have a headache, it can be almost impossible to focus on anything else but the pain. No matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing, a headache is the background noise that underscores it all.
So now that summer is here and the kids are home from school, for example, frequent headaches will make it really hard for you to give them the time and attention they need. Because you’re in pain, you might become more easily agitated and more impatient with them. And it’s completely understandable!
Frequent painful headaches make you suffer for obvious reasons, and they make the people you love suffer because they have to take a backseat. They want to spend time with you this summer playing out in the backyard, going for picnics in the park, or splashing around in the pool. But how can you when you’re in so much pain?!
If all of this sounds familiar to you, our team at Oregon Smile Care Center wants to dedicate today’s blog to something that may be causing your unexplained and debilitating headaches. We hope the information you’re about to read gets you one step closer to finding answers and relief from your painful symptoms so you can get out there with the kids and enjoy your summer!
TMJ, which refers to the joint that connects your jawbone to the rest of your skull, can shift out of proper alignment and create a painful disorder called TMD. Most of the time, though, when people talk about it, they simply call it TMJ.
At any rate, TMJ disorder brings with it a whole host of uncomfortable, and often painful, symptoms such as frequent headaches and migraines, neck and jaw pain and muscle tension, earache-like pain, and even fatigue.
You might also experience some of these symptoms when you first wake up, which is a common sign that TMJ is the culprit. Another indication that TMJ is behind your pain is if your jaw clicks, pops, or even locks up, especially when you eat.
Dr. Hanson and our highly-skilled team at Oregon Smile Care Center are experienced in successfully diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder. When you come in for an appointment, we will sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and try to get to the bottom of the underlying causes.
Common causes for TMD are teeth grinding or clenching, arthritis in your jawbone, a trauma or injury to the jaw, head, or neck area, or poor bite alignment. It’s important to figure out what’s causing your TMD so we can ensure a better chance for successful treatment.
So depending on what’s behind your TMJ disorder, you might benefit from any number of possible treatments:
-A night splint: this would help keep your top and bottom molars from touching, making it impossible for you to grind or clench your jaw and teeth. This is something you might be doing without even realizing it.
-A nightguard: this is worn while you sleep to keep all of your top and bottom teeth from clenching and grinding at night. You likely do this if you wake up with a sore jaw. For obvious reasons, this can be what makes it so challenging to diagnose the cause of your painful symptoms because, after all, how can you treat something when you’re completely unaware that it’s happening in the first place?
-A day appliance: like a nightguard, this helps you from being able to clench and grind your teeth throughout the day. Surprisingly, sometimes you can be just as unaware that you grind your teeth or clench your jaw during the day because it’s something you may not realize you’re doing. Although, oftentimes, you might realize it after a few minutes. When you’re tense because you’re running late to work due to traffic, you could be gripping the steering wheel tightly and clenching your jaw, but then suddenly realize you’re doing it and make yourself stop and try to relax.
So now that summer is here, do something about your constant painful headaches once and for all. Don’t just do it for your kids. Do it for yourself!