TMD Aches vs. Migraine Headaches

Miami and Coral Gables, Florida

Migraine headaches are among the most mysterious phenomena in medicine. For a condition suffered by nearly 30 million people in the US, migraine headaches remain poorly understood. We are not entirely sure why migraines occur, only what happens during a migraine. During a migraine attack, your brain chemistry changes. Most prominently, serotonin levels drop, and your trigeminal nerve releases signaling compounds that travel to your brain’s outer covering and trigger pain.

TMD aches, on the other hand, are primarily tension headaches. They are caused mostly by tightened muscles in the neck, jaw, and scalp, which compresses blood vessels and puts pressure on nerves. Because a TMD sufferer has overactive or imbalanced muscles in the jaw and neck area, this can result in tension headaches.

There are many symptoms that distinguish between tension headaches and classical migraines, including the existence of an aura–a visual hallucination that precedes migraines. Unfortunately, some of these symptoms are subjective, such as the severity of pain, and others are not reliable, such as the aura, which may affect only 20% of migraine sufferers. And the distinction becomes further blurred because TMD can result in significant irritation of the trigeminal nerve, and therefore might trigger true migraines.

Whether you are suffering from migraines or tension headaches, treatment of TMD can result in fewer and less severe headaches. To learn more about TMD treatment in Miami, please contact Miami Designer Smiles for an appointment today.