For those suffering from TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder) and headaches, life can seem unbearable. Many people don’t even realize that the two are related, but it’s true – TMJD can cause frequent, chronic headaches. In some cases, Botox injections can be used to treat this condition and provide relief from the pain. Let’s take a look at what TMJ is and how Botox can help.

What Is TMJD?

TMJD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder and refers to any problems with the jaw joint that connects your lower jawbone to your skull. It’s a very common disorder; in fact, one in three people will experience it at some point in their lives. Common symptoms include jaw pain, facial pain, clicking or popping of the jaw when opening or closing it, difficulty chewing or speaking, headaches, neck pain, shoulder aches, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). 

Why Is It Important To Treat TMJ disorder?

Treating TMJ disorder is important because, if left untreated, it can lead to long-term damage such as erosion of the cartilage surrounding the jawbone, muscle weakness, arthritis, nerve damage, loss of hearing, and difficulty opening your mouth wide enough to eat properly or speak clearly—all of which can be disruptive to daily life activities. Therefore it is important to seek treatment right away if you think that you might have any signs or symptoms associated with TMJ to prevent further damage down the line.

How Does TMJ Cause Headaches?

Headaches can occur when the TMJ and jaw muscles become tense and inflamed due to clenching, grinding, or excessive use. This tension can trigger headaches as the muscles in the head, neck, and face become strained. The pain may start in the jaw and spread up to the temples, forehead, or even behind the eyes. The good news is that treatments are available to help relieve these headaches caused by TMJ. 

Botox injections are a minimally invasive procedure and one of the most popular ways to treat both chronic headaches and TMJ-related headaches alike. Botox works by relaxing the muscles around your jaw, which helps reduce tension and pain associated with TMJ-related headaches. An oral surgeon will typically inject small amounts of Botox into specific areas around your jaw, which helps relax those muscles and reduce tension, resulting in fewer headaches.

Night guards are also recommended as a complimentary treatment to Botox injections for TMJ-related headaches. Night guards help prevent teeth grinding (bruxism) and jaw clenching, two common causes of TMJ-related headaches.  

At-Home Pain Relief Tips

While Botox can help treat TMJ pain, additional relief can be found with some home remedies. To reduce TMJ pain and headaches, try applying an ice pack to your jaw for 10 minutes at a time or taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants (always take as directed and check with your doctor before taking any medication.)

Relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation are great ways to help you relax the facial and jaw muscles associated with TMJ. Taking time out of your day to focus on breath control, stretching out tense areas, and calming your thoughts can have a major impact when it comes to relieving TMJ symptoms. 

It’s also important to be aware of your posture, as slumped shoulders and poor neck alignment can create tension that aggravates TMJ flare-ups. Keep an eye out when standing or sitting throughout the day, making sure you’re not clenching the teeth or jaw. When you feel yourself tensing up, try using muscle relaxation exercises such as isolating specific facial muscles and then consciously releasing them one by one until you can unclench your jaw completely. Regularly practicing these moments throughout the day can become a valuable tool for maintaining muscle tension associated with TMJ and avoiding chronic pain flare-ups.

Find Relief From Your Headaches

If you suffer from both TMJ disorder and frequent headaches, schedule an appointment with Dr. Martin or Dr. Thompson to see if you are a candidate for Botox treatment. If you are searching for TMJ treatment in Deer Park or Barrington, or if you are searching for oral surgeon Deer Park, oral surgeon Barrington, or an oral surgeon near me, we are here for you. Call us at (847) 381-0106 or complete the online booking form for a free consultation.

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