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3 Solutions to Relieve TMJ Headaches

How Can You Relieve TMJ Headaches?

Dr. Arnan Sisson, PT / January 23, 2022

TMJ can cause headache in a number of ways.

However, from treating numerous patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ / TMD) over the years, I've found that these are the three most common ways to prevent these headaches.

Correct Posture

Let's start with the third cause that we discussed above as the first solution: posture. 

Correcting your posture is one of the easiest ways to relieve both headaches and TMJ.

And better yet, sometime it has almost immediate effects.

With more chronic cases, it may take awhile to see the effects, but just correcting your posture is a good start.

To do that, sit with your head above your shoulder with your chin tucked.

Sitting or standing in such a manner allows your spine to support the weight of your head instead of your suboccipital muscles.

Additionally, sitting with proper posture causes less tension in the jaw muscles as well as less compression on the tempormandibular joint itself.

Avoid Clenching Your Teeth

The second solution to TMJ headaches is to avoiding clenching your teeth.

That's kind of hard to do at night time when you can't control it.

There are TMJ mouthguards, and they're moderately successful for some people with TMJ.

Additionally, using a properly fit pillow to keep your head, neck, and jaw supported can help keep your jaw in the proper alignment at night.

Here's a helpful tip that you can use to keep from clenching your teeth during the day and therefore prevent TMJ headaches:

When you're sitting, place your your tongue behind your top teethwhen you're not talking or eating.

When you rest your tongue behind your top teeth, it makes it really hard to clench your jaw muscles at the same time.

Trigger Point Release

The third thing you can do to relieve TMJ headaches is doing some self trigger point release.

If you can locate the "knots" or "trigger points" in the masseter and temporalis muscles, and hold a gentle pressure on them, you can get the muscles to relax.

Just hold a gentle pressure on the muscles.  You don't want to hold so much pressure that it's causing you a lot of pain.