What is a migraine?
Migraine headaches can ruin your quality of life, and both migraine and tension-type headaches are strongly associated with TMJ disorders. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of TMJ problems can reduce or even eliminate these devastating headaches.
How do I know I'm having migraines?
Visual disturbances called auras are a “warning sign” that you may be having a migraine attack. An aura can occur in both eyes and may involve any or all of the following:
- Temporary blind spots
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain
- Seeing stars or zigzag lines
- Tunnel vision
Not every person with migraines has an aura. Those who do usually develop one about 10 – 15 minutes before the headache, but it may occur just a few minutes to a full 24 hours beforehand. A headache may not always follow an aura.
Migraine headaches can be dull or severe. Patients usually report feeling pain behind the eye or in the back of the head and neck. Headaches start on the same side each time, but it is not uncommon for people who suffer from tension-type headaches to feel pain on both sides of their head. Patients also report throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain on one side of the head. Pain may begin as a dull ache which becomes worse within minutes to hours, lasting anywhere between 6 to 48 hours. Other symptoms may occur with migraine headaches, which include:
- Increased urination
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbing, tingling, or weakness
- Problems concentrating or finding words
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Excessive sweating
What causes migraines?
Migraines are triggered by anything that stresses a person’s face and neck muscles. Dental clenching is one of the most common triggers for migraines. People who bring their chin down while reading or hold a phone in-between their shoulder can also overwork their muscles, causing headaches. Degenerative arthritis (especially of the neck) can cause similar problems. Disorders such as TMJD and sleep apnea may also cause headaches, along with other underlying issues such as depression and anxiety.
How are migraines treated?
Migraine treatment seeks to manage pain and prevent future attacks. Most dental mouth guards only prevent damage done to teeth while clenching; Minnesota Craniofacial Center makes custom appliances which may help with migraines by addressing any underlying craniofacial issues, including TMJ or sleep concerns. We also show patients how to perform home exercises and techniques that relieve chronic pain and prevent teeth clenching.
What should I do if I have migraines?
It may take some time for your doctor or specialist to determine the best course of treatment. Headache treatment is a partnership between you and your doctor in which open communication is essential. Finding a “quick fix” for your headache may not be possible. At the Minnesota Craniofacial Center, we work with your physician and a team of specialists to provide you the most effective treatment possible.