Link between TMD, Headache and Neck Pain
Pain and discomfort spread around the face, jaw, cheek and neck. Headache is also occurs, sometimes. Even feel something happening in the ear, too.
Many of the clients describe their symptoms like these.
For many years, from clinical standpoint, we have known neck and TMD are closely interlinked. It means neck problem can refer to the jaw and the jaw problem can also refer to the neck/headache.
Current understanding of the mechanism for such symptoms described above owe it to the neural pathway and collection of brain cells that carries and process information up to the brain and back out to neck or jaw called Trigemino-Cervical Nucleus (TCN).
The TCN is located in the lower part of the lowest part of the brain called Brainstem.
So what does this mean?
Some people will have problem that originates in the jaw but as it persists over a long period of time can sensitise the neck.
In other time, upper cervical (neck) problem that often starts with headache/migraine/tension-type headache to spread to the jaw.
Fortunately in Physiotherapy, we have treatment methods to desensitize the brainstem by treating upper neck, jaw problems such as TMD, which ever is the origin of the problem. The problem can co-exist in both neck and jaw.
In any case, the careful assessment helps identify the problem and the structure that are the primary driver of your symptoms. Once identified, we formulate the treatment pathway in 3 phases.
- Remove pain
- Restore Function
- Perform at best
Undergoing all three phases ensures that this problem’s causative factors have been resolved and restored and therefore it minimizes this problem from happening ever again.