TMJ Headaches & Migraines

Dr. Shapira Headaches and Migraines, Unsorted 0 Comments

Suffer From Frequent Headaches and Migraines?

tmj-headaches-migraines-chicagoWhen chronic headaches are a part of your life, they can truly be a torment. Nothing can be more agonizing than a migraine that has you down for the count for days. No matter what kind of headache it is, it makes life difficult when it keeps coming back. Severe headaches stop you in your tracks, put your life on hold, and keep you from doing what you love to do. If you have been struggling with serious headaches for years and cannot find any relief, it is time you started looking in a new direction for the source of your headache pain. If you suffer from migraine headaches, migraines with aura, sinus headaches, or frontal, temporal, or occipital headaches, you could be dealing with a problem that originates in your jaw joint.

Headaches and migraines can result from a jaw joint disorder

The jaw endures a great deal of strain on a daily basis. It consists of an intricate system of nerves, muscles, ligaments, and bone. When everything is in order, it will work seamlessly, moving easily without a hitch. However, when there are problems with the temporomandibular joint, the hinge that connects both portions of your jaw, it can wreak havoc on your body. When your bite is misaligned, due to stress, an injury, or an abnormality with your jaw itself, it can cause strain and inflammation. The jaw joint and powerful muscles surrounding it can be affected. This can then put pressure on the muscles and nerves that affect the head. In addition to dealing with a sore jaw, stiff neck, and sore shoulders, pain can radiate to your head on a regular basis, forcing you to suffer from bouts of serious pain. Fortunately, there are solutions to jaw joint disorders. A dental solution could be a step in the right direction.

Dental solutions for TMJ headaches and migraines?

TMJ-occlusionIf you have tried every other solution for your chronic headaches and migraines without success, turn to physiologic dentistry to seek help from a different direction. If a misaligned bite is the source of the problem, we can assist you with a range of alternatives. Physiologic dentistry takes a ‘whole body’ approach to treating TMJ problems, and involves realigning the bite in order to properly position the jaw and surrounding muscles, which can ultimately relieve symptoms you may be experiencing in various parts of your body. The remedy may be as simple as wearing a mouth guard at night or an orthotic, a type of mouth splint, to shift your bite into proper alignment. In the event that more intervention is involved, we may recommend full mouth construction, modifying the teeth to create a proper bite. This may be possible through the use of crowns, bonding, or veneers in order to create ideal surfaces for your teeth or to fill any gaps that are causing a misalignment in your bite. When your bite is finally in alignment, your jaw will work properly as well, avoiding the strain that leads to headaches.

Stop the pounding

It’s time to get rid of those headaches once and for all. Set up a consultation with us to discuss the connection between your chronic headaches and a potential TMJ disorder.We will be able to perform a physical evaluation, a bite analysis, and take advantage of the latest in medical imaging. Through close study, we can pinpoint the problem in your jaw. We can then work together to choose a plan of action to address the imbalance in your jaw joint, you will finally be able to say goodbye to your headaches.

TMJ Pain and Sleep

Dr. Shapira Jaw Problems, Sleep Problems, TMJ Pain and Sleep 0 Comments

TMJ Pain and Sleep: Why do I have trouble sleeping?

tmj-pain-and-sleepDo you find trouble sleeping and at the same time have jaw pain? A lot of Americans suffer from one sleep disorder or another but the most common is something called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the airways become blocked and you find that you keep waking up as your body reacts to the lack of oxygen.

There are other reasons that can help to stop you sleeping well and these are related to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The jaw joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull are the TMJ Joints.  When they do not function smoothly you may hear clicking, popping or grinding noises in your joints or experience mild to severe pain when using your jaw.  This is the part of the face that allows you to move your jaws up, down or sideways.  When the TMJ is not working you may experience locking of your jaws or experience pain with movement.

If your ‘bite’ becomes misaligned you might experience symptoms such as face, ear, neck and jaw pain, because a ‘bad bite’ can affect your TMJ. A problem with the TMJ may then also cause snoring and sleep problems.  Your bite and your two TMJ joints act like a three-legged stool, if the legs are even the stool is stable.  If one or more of the joints or the bite is not correct you will have instability resulting in problems.  Muscle pain, neck pain and headache are some of the most common results of instability.

A jaw joint disorder could be causing your sleep problems

If you have a problem with your TMJ, then the pain could cause a TMJ related sleep disorder. The link between your TMJ and some sleep disorders like sleep apnea is crystal  clear, but just the jaw pain may still prevent you from getting a proper night’s sleep.

TMJ problems are often caused by a misaligned bite, which can put your tongue in the wrong place so that it readily blocks your airways. If you snore a lot and cannot sleep because of your TMJ, you do need to find a remedy because it could lead to more serious health issues, including heart disease and high blood pressure. A sleep disorder is more than a lack of sleep as it is a warning that further health problems are possible if treatment does not start.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH published a report on “THE CARDIOVASCULAR AND SLEEP-RELATED CONSEQUENCES OF TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DISORDERS”  I  wrote a paper for Cranio Journal titled “TMJ, The Great Imposter has a Co-coconspirator Poor Sleep”   I  was requested to write the editorial for Cranio by Riley Lunn, the editor and owner when the Journal  changed it’s name from  the Journal for Craniomandibular Practice to the Journal for Craniomandibular Practice and Sleep.

Sleep problems can cause a multitude of pain Disorders including Fibromyalgia

It does not matter if jaw pain or airway problems are causing your disturbed sleep.  Once you sleep is disturbed it creates a host of new problems with widespread muscle pain.  There is a very specific sleep finding in Fibromyalgia, Alpha Intrusion into Delta Sleep or in simple English you wake or have disturbed deep sleep.  Studies have shown that many patients have Fibromyalgia symptoms if you disturb their sleep.  The disruption in sleep also alters our endocrine system affecting insulin resistance, cortisol levels, growth hormone, adrenal function, sexual hormones and thyroid hormone.  All of these factors can increase the pain and dysfunction associated with TemporoMandibular Disorders.

Dental treatments for your jaw problems and sleep disorder

This may be the right time to consider dentistry to correct the TMJ problem and any sleeping disorders, too. We will first ensure that no other health problems are causing your TMJ problem and any other sleep disorders. The first test we might use is an ultra low-frequency electronic device which will relax the muscles in your face.  Many patients have comorbid conditions or health problems that contribute to their TMJ disorder but there are also many patients who experience a host of medical problems because of their TMJ disorder.   One study showed that patients with TMJ disorders have a 300% increase in spending in every field of medicine.

If your TMJ is the culprit, then a special orthotic appliance is put in place which prevents the bite misalignment. If teeth grinding (bruxism) seems to be the main reason for the TMJ disorder, fitting a night guard is quite likely. This is a custom-made mouthpiece that you will wear when you sleep. These treatments can lead to less pain and better breathing.  Many patient who grind their teeth have sleep apnea and the bruxism helps to stiffen and open their airways.  Sometimes, a troublesome behavior can have both  positive and negative  consequences.  It is extremely important that patients with sleep problems and/or TMJ problems always see an expert in both fields.

Dr Shapira is a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, A Diplomat of the Ameican Academy of Pain Management and a Felllow of the International College of CranioMandibular Orthopedics.

Stop the pain and get back to sleep

If you have been experiencing jaw pain and find it hard to get to sleep you may have a problem with your TMJ which could be helped by physiologic dentistry combined with Dental Sleep Medicine. We will need to make a thorough examination and eliminate other possible causes of the pain and any sleeping problems you have been experiencing. By utilizing advanced clinical and diagnostic protocols available in modern dentistry techniques, Dr. Shapira will be able to help you find a night filled with better sleep and a reduction or elimination of your daytime pain.