Headache pain can be debilitating. And sometimes, it can persist for days or weeks at a time. If you have persistent or severe headache pain that isn’t relieved with over-the-counter medicine, it’s time to talk to pain management specialists like a chiropractor or physical therapist. It’s possible that your headache is being caused by an underlying physical problem, such as TMJ disorders.
Recognize Signs and Symptoms
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders occur when the joints that connect the skull with the jaw become inflamed. The pain that occurs in the jaw can extend to the forehead, causing tension-type headaches. You might feel that there is a band of pressure across your forehead. If it’s caused by your jaw, you’re also likely to experience pain and stiffness in the jaw, perhaps accompanied by a grinding sound at the jaw joint. Some people with TMJ disorders have trouble opening their mouths wide.
Chiropractors are experts with joint problems. Some people may find relief with treatment with the activator device. An upper spine adjustment can help correct the underlying problem, as some people with TMJ disorders have dysfunction of the cervical spine. A chiropractor can also help you improve your posture. Using a hunched-over posture and resting your chin in your hand while you work or read can contribute to a flare-up of TMJ symptoms.
Physical therapists can help TMJ disorder patients by breaking up scar tissue, relieving tight muscles, and stretching the sore jaw. Initially, your course of physical therapy may focus on pain relief, such as by using cold and heat therapy, massage, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Later, you can work on strengthening the muscles that support the jaw joint.
Stress is a common contributor to TMJ disorders, as people often clench and grind their teeth when they’re under stress. Practice mindfulness. Become aware of when you’re clenching your teeth together, and actively work to relax your jaw.
TMJ pain relief is a phone call away. If you live near The Woodlands and suffer from a TMJ disorder, call (281) 362-0006. The team of physical therapists, chiropractors, and medical doctors at The Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers provide personalized treatment plans for long-lasting relief.