A headache is one of the most common symptoms of TMD and jaw pain is often mistaken for a tension headache. Unlike a typical headache, however, jaw pain won’t respond to most over the counter pain medications.
There are generally four types of headache:
1. Sinus Headache
When sinuses cannot drain freely or become irritated or inflamed, a sinus headache results. This inflammation is often caused by allergies or an upper respiratory infection such as a cold. Decongestants to assist with sinus drainage or a course of antibiotics to treat a sinus infection should provide relief. If the headache is caused by jaw pain, however, decongestants can make the headache symptoms worse.
2. Cluster Headache
Cluster headaches tend to manifest in cycles or clusters. They can occur two or three times a day for a period of time, often spring or fall, and then disappear completely for months. They are more intense than a migraine but shorter in duration and can go into remission for months or years before reoccurring. They are more common in men than in women.
3. Tension Headache
These are the most common type of headache, and tend to occur more frequently in women. They can trigger pain in the temples, forehead, and back of the head or neck and are caused by muscle tension in the head and neck. They are often attributed to stress or fatigue, but can also be caused by psychological conditions such as depression or eye strain due to staring at a computer screen for long periods without a break. They respond well to over-the-counter remedies.
4. Migraine Headache
Migraine headaches can be debilitating and trigger a host of corollary symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, visual aura such as flashing or wavy light and blurred vision. While the exact cause is unknown, migraines are believed to be associated with inflamed blood vessels which cause pain and pressure in the head. Untreated, migraines can last up to 72 hours.
Here are other common types of headaches:
TMD headaches can mimic the symptoms of these common types of headache, but will not respond to typical headache remedies. TMD headaches affect 8 times more women than men. Proper diagnosis by a professional trained in diagnosing and treating TMJ is essential to finding the proper treatment to relieve TMD headaches.