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What Sets a TMJ Headache Apart From a Common Headache?

Pain from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be easily mistaken for a common headache, mostly because the symptoms are so similar. But there are a few key differences that set TMJ headache apart from an everyday tension headache.

TMJ Pain or Regular Headache?

According to Mayo Clinic, pain radiating from the TMJ comes with:

  • A crackling or grinding sound when you move your jaw.
  • Stiffness in the joint, making it difficult to open and close your mouth.
  • Facial tenderness and pain.
  • Earaches.

At the same time, it’s unlikely that headaches originating from the TMJ would cause symptoms that severe headache and migraines share: nausea, sensitivity to light or sound and fatigue. A TMJ headache can, however, trigger a migraine for those who are susceptible to them – another reason why addressing a TMJ headache is so vital to your overall health.

How to Cope With TMJ Pain

The best way to cope with TMJ pain and head off a full-blown migraine is to address the pain right at the source. Here are the best ways to prevent TMJ headache and deal with its associated pain.

  • Opt for mints or mouthwash. If you’re a frequent gum-chewer, it might be time to eliminate the habit; overuse of the jaw muscles can inflame the TMJ, resulting in pain and stiffness.
  • Stress is a common trigger for TMJ-related pain because most people tend to tense their jaw when under tight deadlines, dealing with family drama or otherwise in an uncomfortable situation. Participating in just a half-hour of exercise each day, taking short breaks from stressful work or even taking a yoga class can help you relax naturally on your own.
  • Massage your jaw. Gently kneading the TMJ can help increase blood flow to the area, allowing you to do away with most of the pain and inflammation. Place your first three fingers on the TMJ (you’ll find it about three inches back from the corner of your mouth) and press down on the joint, massaging in a circular motion. Continue until the area desensitizes and you notice relief.

About Pasadena Pain Management

Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.