TMD Headaches vs. Migraines

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. Despite decades of medical research, there still is not a consensus as to why migraines occur—only what happens during a migraine. Since the cause of migraines remains relatively unknown, it should come as no surprise that certain other types of headaches—such as those caused by temporomandibular joint disorder—can be misidentified as migraines, even by an expert and experienced medical professional.

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. The trigeminal nerve plays a pivotal role in migraines; this nerve sends more sensory information to the brain than any other neutral pathway in the body—even the spinal cord!

TMJ headaches and the trigeminal nerve

Headaches caused by TMJ disorder are, simply put, another variety of tension headaches—and both involve stimulation of the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is located nearby the temporomandibular joint, so when that joint begins to malfunction, it creates a domino effect that often impacts or compresses the trigeminal nerve, thus sending signals to the outer covering of the brain that causes a headache.

How are TMJ headaches confused as migraines?

Patients who suffer from TMJ headaches feel pain that is quite similar in nature to that felt by people with migraines.

These include:

  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • A keen sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Distortions of vision

However, certain symptoms differentiate migraines from TMJ headaches. One of these is the existence of an aura, which is a visual hallucination that precedes migraines. Unfortunately, some of these symptoms are subjective—including the severity of pain.

Why choose Miami Designer Smiles?

TMD also can result in significant irritation of the trigeminal nerve, and therefore might trigger true migraines. It takes a trained medical professional with a specific focus on TMJ disorder and the alignment of the jaw to differentiate headaches caused by this disorder from migraines—like the neuromuscular dentists on staff at Miami Designer Smiles. Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia both trained at the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies, considered the finest institution in the country for education in the specialty of neuromuscular dentistry. There, both underwent rigorous post-graduate education that went well above and beyond the techniques and procedures taught in standard dental school.

Treatment for TMJ Disorder, Miami

Have you been battling migraines for quite some time without finding lasting relief? Are standard treatments for migraines—no matter how powerful they may be—only managing the symptoms of the headaches themselves, and doing nothing to diminish the frequency of the attacks? If the answer to either question is yes, then TMJ disorder could be the cause of your painful headaches. You owe it to yourself to find lasting relief; schedule a consultation with the neuromuscular dentists at Miami Designer Smiles by calling (305) 595-4616.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to serve the neuromuscular dentistry needs of patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables in Florida.