TMJ, Headaches, and Neck Pain
TMJ occurs when your jaw system isn’t working in proper harmony. Instead of having your jaw muscles in a relaxed position when you’re not using them, they can settle in a painful and stressed position because the shape of the teeth, the form of the jaw, and the condition of the muscles can’t agree on the best resting position of the jaw. This means that instead of resting when you’re not using them, your jaw muscles are working hard trying to force your jaw into position. This can obviously lead to tension headaches, as above.
However, TMJ can also lead to other types of headaches and neck pain. TMJ is strongly linked to migraine headaches. Pressure on or overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve can trigger migraines. The trigeminal nerve carries signals from the brain to the jaw muscles, and carries pain signals back. When the jaw muscles are constantly working and sending back pain signals, this can lead to overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve, which sets off migraines.
Jaw muscles can also put pressure on the trigeminal nerve, setting off other types of migraine.
Finally, TMJ is an imbalance in your jaw, which can cause an imbalance in your neck. This neck imbalance can lead to a pinched nerve in the neck, causing neck pain.
Treating TMJ can reduce or eliminate most of these types of pains, and prevent others.