What do my jaw problems have to do with migraines?
In jaw surgery practice, one repeatedly comes across a phenomenon that is also receiving increasing attention in science: the close connection between jaw joint problems and migraines. This is rooted in the anatomy of our chewing apparatus, in which the jaw joint is embedded in a complex network of muscles and nerves. This joint can become a source of headaches and migraines, especially if there are incorrect loading or functional disorders.
Sleep bruxism increases the risk of migraines
Bruxism, the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth (both while asleep and awake), puts enormous strain on the chewing muscles. In recent years, various scientific studies have shown that sleep bruxism can significantly increase the risk of headaches and chronic migraines.
When someone suffers from bruxism, where they unconsciously grind their teeth or clench their jaw tightly, this can put undue stress on specific points in the jaw, neck and shoulder muscles. These points, called trigger points, are susceptible areas in the muscles that can cause pain if irritated. By constantly applying pressure when grinding your teeth, these trigger points can be “activated” or irritated, which sets in motion a process in the body known as sensitization. This increases the sensation of pain, which means that even slight pressure or otherwise harmless Touch can be perceived as painful.
An accurate diagnosis is crucial when treating these complex conditions. Dental splints, physiotherapy, medication and lifestyle changes, particularly concerning stress reduction and relaxation techniques, play an essential role in therapy. In any case, the knowledge that temporomandibular joint problems and migraines often go hand in hand opens up new avenues in treating both diseases.