TMJ Headache Treatment Michigan Doctor John Halmaghi   Analysis of the TMJ Migraine Headache Pain and neuromuscular pain syndrome and how it relates to the nervous system. Learn about jaw pain jaw problems and what treatments are available.
Migraine Pain TMJ Dysfunction Pain Headache Diagnosis Headache Pain Cures

The Nervous System and TMJ Headache Pain

Your three nervous systems:

1. Motor: this is the part of the nervous system that you are in total control over. It allows you to talk, walk, sit, stand, or do whatever else you tell your muscles you want them to do.

2. Sympathetic: this is the part of the nervous system that you cannot control. Your brain and sensory system tell the sympathetic to get your adrenaline ready for action, especially stressful type action. It prepares you for a fight by speeding up your heart rate, pumping up your adrenaline, and "juicing" up your muscles. It has direct innervation (control) to your muscles by way of the muscle spindles. If you ever trembled during a scary movie, now you know why. The sympathetic turns itself off during proper sleep and restful periods.

3. Parasympathetic: this is the part of the nervous system, which helps your body to heal. You cannot control this system, although meditation and stress relief methods are known to help induce its activity. It brings your body into balance by releasing hormones, slowing your heart rate, and enabling your organs to heal themselves. The parasympathetic works while you sleep or lay in the sun on the beach.

What happens with people who are under a lot of stress, or have suffered trauma, is that their body, without awareness, is continuously activating the sympathetic system. A jaw joint that is compressed, or damaged, sends out distress signals to the nervous system, particularly: the sympathetic nervous system. This results in further muscular contraction and pain, because the body tells the muscles to "brace" themselves against further damage.

The muscles simply try to protect a damaged joint; unfortunately the end result is more damage and more pain. This condition is severe in patients who have suffered trauma; as a result of an accident...the sympathetic system also causes damage to many other parts of the body. These problems can be debilitating to these patients, especially if they have existing improper jaw relationships.

Many Common Reasons can Cause Bad Jaw Relationships:

The most common 'type' of patient that we see in our practice with complaints of headaches and migraines is the Class II patient. This is a person who has a deficient lower jaw. This can be seen either as a large overbite (top front teeth protruding out over the bottom front teeth and not biting together) or a deep bite (top front teeth biting too much over the bottom front teeth). The lower jaw did not grow to match the size of the upper jaw, thereby causing an improper jaw relationship. Consequently, the muscles can overpower the small lower jaw, compressing it into the jaw joint (the TMJ).

A "bad bite," or malocclusion, includes overbites, overjets, openbites, crossbites, and even crowded or missing teeth. A "bad bite" may be forcing your muscles to compress your jaw into your skull, resulting in a strain. This strain eventually causes muscle and ligament problems, resulting in severe headaches/facial pain. The jaw joint is designed to deal with the forces and strains that are put upon it during normal chewing. The big problem happens when intense strain is put on the jaw joint during clenching, grinding, muscle splinting, or poor jaw to jaw function. These dysfunctions can become debilitating to the joints, especially in patients who have misalignment of their bites.

Your pain may also be caused by stress. Stress, anxiety, and/or frustration, causes many people to clench or grind their teeth. Stress also causes over activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Remember that the sympathetic nervous system can control your muscles without your knowledge of it doing it. Muscular hyperactivity causes the jaw joints to become jammed, overloaded, and overclosed. After time, clenching and grinding causes your muscles to spasm, resulting in tension headaches, and back/neck pain. Researchers have given these muscle spasms their own name: Myofacial Pain Dysfunction (MPD).

Sudden trauma to the head can also cause headaches and facial pain. The damage to the muscles and ligaments may cause immediate discomfort, or may not become painful for several years. The muscles try to protect the joint and surrounding tissues. The damage that they start to cause is normally not seen for many years, when the damage is finally observed on x-rays or MRIs.

Contact Dr. Halmaghi's staff at to obtain any additional information you may need for utilizing our evaluation service.

Michigan TMJ/Headache Institute

Practice Limited to Headache, Migraine, TMJ, Facial Pain, and Sleep Disorder
Dr. John Halmaghi
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