Headaches and Migraines Calgary

“Make it stop!”

In Calgary, many people suffer from chronic headaches and migraines. Many Calgarians also suffer from facial pain, neck, shoulder and back pain.

Most of them aren’t aware that their Occlusion (how the teeth touch and function) can cause what is commonly called a TMJ Disorder (TMD) and may be the cause of their discomfort.

“These TMJ headaches will be the end of me!”

migraines calgary

When your teeth occlude (meet or touch) and function (move against each other) in a strained manner, jaw and neck muscles are relentlessly strained or stressed. This can result in “tension headaches” and other types of headaches and neck pain.

The neck muscles that attach to the back of your head can become strained when your occlusion is not balanced. Strained neck muscles can cause neck aches, a “sinus headache” behind the eyes, “forehead pain”, and even a “stiletto pain” on the top of the head.

Many people think that they are experiencing a sinus headache but your ENT will tell you that there are no such thing as a sinus headache. In fact ‘pain behind the eyes’ is a referred muscle pain and/or nerve pain from the back of the skull. This referred pain may also cause a headache on the very top of your skull or on the side of your head above your ears.

TMJ Migraines

Migraines are understood to be the result of an increase in blood pressure or blood volume within the lining of the brain called the Dura Mater.

Some Migraines cause “auras” that are a sense of an impending migraine on its way. Some Migraines just show up without warning. Either way, migraines are often related to a dental malocclusion along with head and neck misalignment. Treatments to balance the occlusion and to align the head and neck can effectively prevent migraine headaches from occurring.2. TMJ disorder treatments may include Functionally Rebalancing the way teeth meet and function and/or creating a dental orthotic that helps decrease the urge to clench and grind your teeth.

calgary woman with migraines

2 ways pressure within the lining of your brain can increase:

1. Decreased flow of blood out of the skull due to improper neck alignment with the skull.

Drainage for the blood supply of your head comes mostly from the ‘Jugular Veins’. The jugular veins have been shown to have restrictions placed on their drainage when the first Cervical (Neck) Vertebrae, the ATLAS, is misaligned. Restricting blood drainage from the brain lining (dura mater) causes an increase in pressure that may trigger a migraine.
Interesting fact: When you lay down, your jugular vein drainage increases up to 10 fold, perhaps the reason why laying down with a headache diminishes the pain.
Often a NUCCA chiropractor can help align the head and neck and improve the flow of blood out of the skull and affect the occurrence of migraines.

2. Clenching causing blood vessel dilation in the lining of the brain.

This is caused by the presence of a protein called CGRP that causes blood vessels to dilate or enlarge. CGRP release is the direct result of an over stimulation of a major Cranial Nerve called the Trigeminal Nerve. The Trigeminal Nerve is the same nerve that senses when teeth touch in the mouth and when pressure changes in the sinuses.

If the Trigeminal Nerve is over stimulated by your clenching or grinding of your teeth, you may develop a migraine. This is the neural connection to a malocclusion or bad bite.

By using a dental orthotic, dentists can change the way your teeth bite. Dental orthotics for TMJ can also help with teeth grinding and teeth clenching, lowering the change of your migraines from developing.

Treatment of TMJ Migraines and Headaches

Dental malocclusion, muscle imbalance, strain from tooth clenching and grinding all affect the workings or physiology of your body. Bringing balance back into the body helps you fight the painful occurrence of both tension headaches and TMJ migraines.3

If you’ve been suffering from headaches and migraines, we encourage you to book a consultation with Dr. Westersund to see if it is caused by jaw problems. You can also call us today at 403 262-9898.

Next: Intro to TMJ Therapy at Dentalife
1. Ozkan, F. Ozkan, N. Erkorkmaz, U. (2011). Trigger point injection therapy in management of Myofacial temporomandibular pain. Agri. 23(3):119-25

2. Li, J. Jiang, T. Feng, H. Wang, K. Zhang, Z. Ishikawa, T. (2007). The electromyographic activity of masseter and anterior temporalis during orofacial symptoms induced by experimental occlusal highspot. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation. 35(2):79-87

3. Barry, C. Israel, K. (2008). Establishment of a Temporomandibular
Physiological State with Neuromuscular Orthosis Treatment Affects Reduction of TMD Symptoms in 313 Patients.The Journal of Craniomandibular & Sleep Practice. 26(2):104-114