Do you suffer from headaches throughout the day? Have you tried pain relief but it just doesn’t seem to cut it? Below is some information on how your headaches could be related to your jaw and teeth.
There are several different types of headaches with different symptoms and causes. These include Cluster headaches, Hypnic headaches, migraines and tension headaches. Cluster headaches occur in clusters over weeks or months and may occur every few days up to as many as eight times a day. The pain from Cluster headaches bores as if there is a hot poker in your eye, or like your eyeball is being pushed out. It is rarely throbbing and usually has a rapid onset. The pain is normally centred around the eye or temple area. Hypnic headaches are rare and the pain is usually diffuse and pulsing. Patients can be awakened by night-time attacks and usually occur in people over 60. Hypnic headaches occur up to three times a night at consistent times and can last from 15 to 180 minutes.
Migraines are recurring headaches which can last from a few hours up to a few days and most commonly occur on wakening. Patients are often sensitive to sound and light. There are generally five phases of the migraine. The first is often indicated by changes in mood or behaviour, depression, craving for special foods and yawning. These indications can start from hours to days prior to a migraine attack. The second phase is indicated by aura which is a perceptual disturbance which often manifests as the perception of a strange light, an unpleasant smell or confusing thoughts or experiences. Aura can develop gradually over 5-20 minutes and may be followed by a headache within 60 minutes of the symptoms abating. Some people may also suffer from other sensory symptoms affecting speech and movement. The third phase of a migraine usually includes throbbing moderate to severe headaches, nausea and vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. Pain in adults may present as a headache, or pain in the teeth, jaw muscles, or the middle or lower third of the face. The fourth phase is the termination of the migraine. The fifth phase is the after effects of the migraine which may include exhaustion, confusion and fatigue, along with loss of appetite, aching muscles and a dull, diffuse headache for one or two days.
Tension type headaches are a dull, non-pulsing tightness felt in all areas of the head and can last from 30 minutes to a few days. The patient may experience sensitivity to loud sounds or light, but not to both and may be caused by TMD, OSA or bruxism. Morning headaches or headaches associated with sleep apnoea are often present on awakening and resolves on its own within 30 minutes. These headaches are those which are not better described by any other headache characterisation.
In terms of determining the appropriate treatment an accurate diagnosis is required. With an accurate history and specific testing it is possible to determine whether the headaches are related to bite, posture, airway, TMD, a combination of these or some other factor. Once this has been done, it is possible to advise whether bite related treatment can help alleviate the headache symptoms.
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