The following article was originally published in Sleep and Health Journal.

What I did not make clear in the original article is that frequently patients call headaches migraines or chronic daily headaches or tension headaches without clearly understanding the true nature of this pain.  Often [atients repeat the diagnosis given by physicians which is also symptom based.  In reality all headaches have numerous components including muscular and nervous components.  What migraines and tension headaches and all other headaches really have in common is the Trigeminal Nerve component.  Whatever the headache is called it is almost 100% of the time a Trigeminal Nervous System Headache.


Tension Headaches are a type of Trigmeminal Nerve innervated muscle contraction headache. They are closely related to TMJ Disorders (TMD) and postural distortions like a forward head position. Tension Headaches and Chronic Daily Headaches are essentially variations of Muscle Contaction Headaches. Frequently severe muscle pain headaches are called Migraines or Atypical Migraines but are in reality primarily caused by muscle trigger points.

It is important to remember that all muscle contraction headaches are a form of repetitive strain injuries. When there is a postural distortion or bite problem the muscles adapt to protect the whole If there is an acute injury Muscle Splinting will occur. This is where the muscle tighten to protect an injured site.

The good news is that Physiologic Dentistry can usually quickly and effectively correct these problems. There is a new office dedicated to treating TMJ disorders, Headaches, Migraines and Sleep Disordered Breathing visit www.thinkbetterlife.comfor more information on TMJ Disorders and Physiologic is another excellent site concerning chronic headaches and correction with Physiologic Dentistry.

Muscle Splinting is normal, in fact it is ideal on a short term basis to protect an injured joint, muscle or tendon. Problems arise when Muscle Splinting is no longer needed but Chronic Muscle Contracture occurs. This will often result in Tight Bands in the Muscle and Trigger Points in the tight bands.

Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction is when there is chronic muscle shortening with associated trigger points. It is similar, in many ways to Fibromyalgia but is more regional in nature. TMJ Dysfunction Patients (TMD) frequently have widespread myofascial Pain and Dysfunction throughout the Head, Neck, Shoulders and Upper Back.

Trigger points and muscle problems tend to spread from one area of the body to another as the muscles continually try to adapt to protect the whole. Unfortunately the muscles work past their Adaptive Capacity. When there is widespread muscle pain, taut bands and pain the condition is called Fibromyalgia and it is often treated as a Rheumatic Systemic Disease but frequently it is best addressed one area at a time, correcting function and eventually having the entire system working again as a single unit.

Patients with chronic pain often develop Alpha Intrusion into Delta Sleep which is the marker for Fibromyalgia. The deep sleep is disturbed resulting in increased pain and sympathetic nervous system activity.

Sleep disordered breathing greatly contributes to these problems. Patients may snore loudly or have sleep apnea where they periodically quit breathing but the female patients and younger, thinner heather males and females often have UARS or Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome that leaves them tired and sore and ruins their sleep but without the classic symptoms. Learn more about Sleep Apnea and UARS at that discusses sleep disordered breathing and comfortable alternatives to CPAP for treating these airway issues.

Sleep Well Illinois is a new company working to do universal sleep screening in Physicians offices to help identify these patients.