Light, sounds, smells, stress, strenuous activities or hormonal changes can trigger a migraine. Did you know that even if you feel pain in your head, it can come from your jaw?
Your jaw is connected by two joints called temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which connect the sides of your jaw to your skull. They help you open and close your mouth when you talk, eat or yawn. Pain in these joints or in the muscles surrounding them can travel to the skull and cause a migraine.
CAUSES OF JAW PAIN
Many things can cause jaw pain. One possibility is that you clench your jaw or grind your teeth. When you feel stressed you may clench your jaw throughout the day. You may even grind your teeth at night while you sleep and not be aware of it.
Some signs that you clench your jaw or grind your teeth are:
- Stress and anxiety: this is the most common cause of teeth grinding.
- Worn or broken teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and loss of teeth and fillings.
- Face, neck and shoulder pain.
- Ear pain, but there is no problem with the ears.
There are a number of things you can try that can help reduce and even prevent migraines:
- Find ways to relax: for example, do breathing exercises, listen to music, meditate or practice yoga
- Try to improve your sleep by going to bed at the same time every night, relaxing before bedtime and making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
- Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, as well as refined sugar, especially after 6:00 pm.
- Drink 2 to 3 liters of water a day.
- Some patients also get relief from acupuncture, massage or visiting a chiropractor.
- Don’t forget your regular dental check-ups.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL?
Dental pain caused by migraine can be similar to:
- Wisdom tooth infection or impacted wisdom teeth.
- Dental infection
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
Dental infections can be serious and lead to serious or life-threatening complications, so it is important to see your dentist right away if you have pain in your teeth or jaw. They can help rule out the mouth as the trigger for your migraine.
Although there is no single test for migraine, it is possible to make a diagnosis by identifying a pattern of migraine attacks and other symptoms. We recommend that you start keeping a migraine diary to see if you can identify a pattern or trigger.
In addition, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience an excruciating headache, lose your vision, have uncontrollable vomiting, or if your headache lasts more than 72 hours with less than 4 hours without pain.