Hey all, I have had headaches on a daily basis for over 3 and a half years. I have had two MRIs of my head and everything looked fine on them. Up until recently, nobody had any explanation for the pain. A dentist suggested that I might have TMJ and that this might explain some of them. Since then, my headaches have increased in intensity and driving me nuts. I am a college student, so it is never good when I can't think straight or concentrate on my work. My parents don't want to spend the money to get a splint made for the TMJ, so nothing has really happened on that front. I can't take this much longer...does anyone have any suggestions?
Get a medical text on headaches and do some reading-- nowadays most can be diagnosed depending on location, pattern of presentation, and other factors. The common ones are cluster, migraine, tension, and medication-rebound-- all fairly easy to diagnose. For a college student, tension headaches would be at the top of the list; I would want you to stop caffeine and alcohol, work on sleep hygeine, stop analgesics.... and if that doesn't help, the splint for TMJ is only about 100 bucks, and worth a try.
If you have been correctly diagnosed with TMJ, you need the splint. End of story. My husband's jaw has been a mess since he reached puberty and to fix his TMJ, he needs radical reconstruction surgery. He opted out of the surgery due to the lengthy recovery process. His problem is so bad that no orthodontist will even try braces. It's surgery or the night guard; so he's used a night guard for 20-some odd years with great success.
The splint simply prevents him from grinding his teeth at night and putting his jaws into positions that cause the headaches. If you can't afford to have one fitted by a dentist, you can try some over-the-counter guards and see if they might help. It takes some getting used to, but it does help a great deal. You might point out the cost of surgery and braces to parents. Comparatively, a splint is a whole lot cheaper and far less traumatic.
Have you ever injured the back of your neck in a fall or whiplash? I had a horse riding accident in 1969 when the horse I was riding spooked, reared up and fell on top of me. The back of my head cracked open and later I found out I had shattered my pelvis. In 1976 I developed headaches that would not let up. I was 21, raising 2 kids, lost both of my grandparents. I tried pain clinics with injections into the back of my neck. Nothing worked. I found I had developed a fibrous growth on my neck from the accident in 1969. It had taken this long to show up. The headaches persisted for about 4 years. One day I received a flyer in the mail about DMSO. I ordered the product and started rubbing this compound on the spot on my neck. Within a couple of weeks the pain was leaving. By six weeks the pain was gone. I still utilize the DMSO. It is a wood bi-product that has been used for inflammation and pain in horses for decades. You can find it on the net. I also have TMJ abd I'm able to keep it in check by chewing gum daily. My dentist says it is unusual but some people do better with gum chewing and I am one of them.
Another thought is, do you still have your wisdom teeth? My dad had headaches forever until his non showing wisdom teeth were removed. The teeth were laying sideways which was putting pressure on the other teeth.
I have only had one incident with my head when I smashed into a bridge in a pool. I didn't pass out or anything, but I had a constant headache for over 2 weeks. The headaches stopped for a while after that and would only come every now and then. Then, about 4 years ago, they came back with a passion and haven't left. I did have wisdom teeth, but I got all four removed over this past summer.
I have had MRI's and visited neurologists over the years due to not really knowing what was causing the problem. After trying numerous migraine medications, it was determined that my headaches weren't migraines. What complicates my case is that I don't have headaches in the same spot. They come from all different places. I might get a headache behind my eyes, at the base of my neck, on the sides of my head; it just depends on the day. I have had problems with anxiety and am on medication to treat it. The meds are helping the anxiety, but the headaches are increasing. I guess it could still be tension headaches, but I am just not sure. The fact that I have been having problems with my ears and have even had moments where one side of my face will go tingly and cold makes me lean more towards TMJ. I have also noticed increased popping in my jaws and pain in my jaw.
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