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The Connection Between Sore Jaws, Migraines, and Headaches: Understanding the Link

Sore jaws, migraines, and headaches are common complaints that can significantly impact daily life. Interestingly, these seemingly unrelated issues can often be interconnected. In this blog, we will explore the connection between sore jaws, migraines, and headaches, and discuss potential causes and management strategies for finding relief.


1. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction:

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull and allows for movements like chewing and speaking. Dysfunction in the TMJ can lead to sore jaws and contribute to migraines and headaches. Some factors that may contribute to TMJ dysfunction include:

- Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism): Excessive grinding or clenching of the teeth, often during sleep, can strain the TMJ and surrounding muscles, leading to jaw soreness and potentially triggering migraines or headaches.

- Misalignment of the jaw: An improper bite or misalignment of the jaw can put stress on the TMJ, leading to jaw pain and potentially contributing to migraines or headaches.

- Stress and tension: Emotional stress and tension can cause individuals to clench their jaws or tighten their facial muscles, leading to jaw soreness and potentially triggering migraines or headaches.

2. The Role of Muscular Tension:

Muscular tension in the jaw, neck, and head can contribute to both sore jaws and migraines/headaches. When the muscles in these areas become tight and tense, it can lead to pain and discomfort. Additionally, tension in the muscles can restrict blood flow and contribute to the development of migraines or headaches.

3. Overlapping Triggers and Symptoms: Migraines, headaches, and sore jaws can share common triggers and symptoms, further highlighting their interconnectedness:

- Stress: Emotional or physical stress can trigger both migraines and jaw clenching, leading to sore jaws and headaches.

- Poor posture: Slouching or maintaining poor posture can strain the muscles in the neck and jaw, contributing to soreness and potentially triggering migraines or headaches.

- Sensitivity to stimuli: Individuals with migraines often have heightened sensitivity to light, sound, or certain smells. Similarly, jaw pain can be exacerbated by chewing hard or tough foods, contributing to sore jaws and potentially triggering migraines or headaches.

4. Management Strategies:

To address the interconnectedness of sore jaws, migraines, and headaches, consider the following management strategies:

- Stress management: Techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation, and counseling can help reduce stress levels and alleviate symptoms.

- Jaw exercises and stretches: Gentle jaw exercises and stretches recommended by a healthcare professional can help relieve tension and improve jaw mobility.

- Dental interventions: A dentist or orthodontist may recommend treatments such as a mouthguard or orthodontic adjustments to alleviate jaw pain and reduce the risk of migraines or headaches.

- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications may be recommended to manage migraines, headaches, and jaw soreness. Consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate options.

Sore jaws, migraines, and headaches are interconnected issues that can significantly impact daily life. Understanding the link between these conditions, such as TMJ dysfunction and muscular tension, can help individuals find relief. By addressing common triggers, managing stress, practicing good posture, and seeking appropriate medical interventions, individuals can take steps towards managing these interconnected issues and improving their overall well-being. Remember, it's important to consult with healthcare professionals for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan based on your specific symptoms and needs.

Raelene Clark

Raelene Clark B.Sc.,M.Sc.Med.(Orofacial Pain Management) is a graduate of the University of Sydney School of Medicine and Dentistry, Pain Management Program, having completed the Orofacial Pain stream. Raelene is the only Western Australian therapist with this qualification, and there are only 3 in Australia is this highly specialised clinical area. She works from Medika Health Clinic where she treats acute headache and migraine, and at Painless Clinic where she works as part of an interdisciplinary team providing care and treatment for those with chronic, or long-term multifactorial head and neck pain conditions. She has over 30 years experience in this field and is happy to be the guide by the side with patients on their journey to reclaiming their life from acute and chronic head pain. Contact Raelene at www.perthheadacheclinic.com



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