A Missed Cause of Headaches
Do you suffer from headaches?
Headaches are among the more common symptoms physical therapists see on a day to day basis.
Patients may suffer a few times per month or daily. Regardless of the frequency, it’s important to find the root cause underlying your headaches so you don’t continue suffering.
What causes headaches?
Headaches may be attributed to a variety of factors such as allergies, hormone imbalance, neck pain, or nerve irritation, and stress.
One of the most neglected reasons, however, is the jaw- headache relationship.
Jaw dysfunction can create a variety of symptoms and headache is chief among them.
Could the cause be your jaw?
The jaw or TMJ is a definite factor in headaches that should be evaluated.
Symptoms associated with jaw dysfunction are:
- jaw shifting during opening and yawning
- grinding or gritting of the teeth
Is the pain in the jaw typically present?
It may sound surprising, but the pain is the least common symptom of jaw dysfunction. In fact, it’s the lack of pain in the jaw itself that allows patients to ignore the issue – an unfortunate situation.
Most patients with jaw dysfunction acknowledge they’ve had jaw issues in the past, but since it was never painful it was easy to ignore it.
Regardless of the cause, jaw dysfunction leads to tightness of the three-jaw muscles, the masseters, digastrics, and temporalis.
How does the jaw affect the neck?
The jaw muscles are very strong, and once they tighten, they tend to pull the jaw forward and cause compression of the upper neck.
Over a period of time, the neck loses its natural C-curve, and a forward head position results.
Due to the forward positioning of the head, pressure occurs on the upper bones of the neck, and the base of the skull impacts too tightly upon the neck.
This loss of proper alignment leads to pinching not only the nerves in the neck but also important cells in the spinal cord that control blood pressure, breathing, etc.
Irritated nerves cause head pain
The pinching of the nerves in the neck can cause radiation of pain to the skull, neck, and forehead, in other words, a headache.
Have you ever wondered why headaches are more common during periods of stress?
Stress causes adrenal malfunction which loosens ligaments, the structures holding bones in position.
The lax ligaments further aggravate the already misaligned jaw and upper neck, causing it to further irritate and pinch the nerves.
The result? More headaches.
Physical therapy addresses the jaw-headache relationship and corrects it
Physical therapy plays a very important role in understanding this major cause of headaches. Once jaw dysfunction is diagnosed, I utilize manual techniques along with specific focused exercises to manage the misaligned jaw and neck.
Physical therapy, along with chiropractic adjustments, allows us to fully correct the underlying root cause of these types of headaches.
Do you suffer from headaches?
Remember, even if you have no jaw pain, your jaw could be involved.
Headaches tend to be multi-factorial, meaning there is frequently more than one cause.
The most common causes we see here at Root Cause Medical are:
- pinched nerves in the neck
- jaw misalignment
- food reactions
- hormonal imbalance
- infections or toxicity
Do you need help with your health?
We have the diagnostic and testing tools, the clinical experience, and a different medical approach to discovering the root cause of why you have the symptoms that are bothering you. As long as you are ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes, we can help you. We will "hold your hand" through the changes, step by step, to make each step an easy one. We are located in Clearwater, FL, at the corner of Ft. Harrison Ave. and Magnolia St. There is plenty of parking space. If it is not convenient for you to come to Root Cause Medical Clinic, we offer telehealth/telemedicine consultations to residents of certain states. Call us for details.
Dr. Rupa Chakravarty DPT, OCS
Director of Physical Therapy at Root Cause Medical
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Dr. Chakravarty has numerous certifications for different techniques in Physical Therapy practice. She employs an extensive array of manual as well as exercise techniques to manage her patients’ symptoms during their course of therapy.