If you’ve been diagnosed with cervicogenic headaches (headaches caused by neck problems), the chances are very good that you also have TMJ. Although manual therapy is a good drug-free treatment for this type of headache, you can get even better results if you also have TMJ treatment.
Identifying Cervicogenic Headache
Since a headache is a very nonspecific symptom, it’s necessary to distinguish among the various types of headaches. It can be hard to tell the difference between the headaches from your standpoint, but as a starting point, recognize that these headaches often begin with pain in the neck, since, by definition, this is where they begin, and are normally found on just one side.
However, a more detailed examination by your doctor will focus on three critical factors: reduced range of motion of the cervical spine, painful dysfunction of the upper neck joints, and reduced muscle endurance in the neck. Although some people may have one or two of these symptoms without having cervicogenic headaches, if you have all three, it’s virtually certain that you have cervicogenic headaches.
Cervicogenic Headache and TMJ
According to a recent study, about 44% of people with cervicogenic headaches also have TMJ. This isn’t a big surprise. After all, we know that one of the ways TMJ can cause headaches is by changing the distribution of load among various muscles, including those of the head and neck.
We also know that TMJ can cause derangement or dysfunction of the neck vertebrae. So it makes sense that TMJ is often involved in people who have cervicogenic headaches.
Manual therapy can be a successful treatment for cervicogenic headaches. In some cases, it can even help with TMJ, and if manual therapy of the TMJ is added to manual therapy for cervicogenic headaches, the combination gives more relief.
But in some cases, manual therapy is not enough to reduce the TMJ involvement in cervicogenic headaches. In this case, dedicated TMJ treatment may be recommended to improve your headaches.
If you have been undergoing manual therapy for cervicogenic headaches and are unhappy with the results, maybe TMJ treatment will help you. To learn more, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Treatment Center of Colorado.