What is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome and Migraine Syndrome?


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"Ouch! My ear hurts like crazy. I have been noticing my jaw popping occasionally. I hope I am not going to need another root canal. That last root canal really hurt twice.

I am not sure which hurt worse: my mouth or my pocketbook. If I had a fever, I would swear I had an ear infection. I am going to the doctor and get a prescription of antibiotics. Maybe that will help."

This patient has TMJ, temporomandibular joint syndrome. Antibiotics are only required if the patient has subsequent tooth abscess. I cannot begin to tell you how many patients I have seen who would demand antibiotics to treat this non-infectious condition. TMJ is extremely common in the migraine syndrome (explained below). The muscle tightness in the upper neck just below the mastoid process (part of skull behind the ear) also correlates well to the tightness in the temple and jaw muscle.

I found it extremely rare for a patient to have TMJ and not have migraines. Usually a severe cross bite or other malformation of the mouth would be present if the patient did not have migraines. This person falls into the migraine syndrome profile. Let me explain what I mean by the migraine syndrome. It is the outward expression of the body's sensitivity to light, sound, smell, food, and/or stress. Some people are more sensitive than others; therefore, their reactions to different stimuli are greater. This sensitivity can be manifested in the body as migraines, sinus headaches, neck aches, palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, motion sickness or vertigo, reactive hypoglycemia, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), panic attacks, and/or fibromyalgia. Now that's a mouthful! Understanding what is going on with you is very important in the healing process. ENT surgeons, dentists, physical therapists, psychologists can all play a role in treatment of TMJ. A headache specialist that understands the role of migraine syndrome in TMJ or an enlightened primary care physician can make the difference in your outcome.

About the author:

J. Wes Tanner, MD, is a family practice and headache specialist who has been treating people for about 30 years. He has extensive experience in treating migraines and fibromyalgia with excellent success. In Doctor, Why Do I Feel This Way?, Dr. Tanner exposes the secrets and myths about fibromyalgia and the migraine syndrome. To find out more, go to http://www.migrainesyndrome.net

What is a Migraine?
It is estimated that up to 26 million Americans suffer from Migraine headaches and it is considered one of the top reasons for missed work and loss of production. Among these, 8 million suffer from debilitating pain every year. These attacks render them incapacitated to the point that they can no longer perform their daily activities.

In fact, about 60 million work days are collectively lost every year, costing the United States some 17 billion dollars because of the lost time and medical expenses. More women than men suffer from migraine.

A debilitating Migraine headache can last from 4 to 72 hours and can be accompanied by intense pain, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, vertigo, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. After affects of a migraine can leave the sufferer drained and without energy accompanied by a low grade headache with oversensitivity to light and sound and can last for another 24 hours.

Most Migraine headaches sufferers cannot identify what triggers the headaches and a long and varied list exists that differs with each individual. The same factors do not necessarily trigger a Migraine on a consistent basis either. Statistically, women are more prone to Migraines than men with claims that the decline in estrogen during menstruation is the trigger and the onset can begin immediately to a few days delay.

Though all migraines are headaches, all headaches are not migraines. There can be many causes like high blood pressure, cervical spondylosis and poor eyesight being a few. So every one with headaches should not think he is suffering from migraine.

The broad criterion of diagnosis is if you have two or more of the following symptoms during a attack it is probable you are suffering from migraine
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