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How to Make Your TMJ Headache Go Away

Updated on July 26, 2011

Oh My Aching Head.

Having a TMJ headache is not pleasant. Having a severe TMJ headache is downright ugly and if yours are anything like mine were you may wish you were dead. It sounds melodramatic but those of you who suffer with bouts of unbearable TMJ migraine headache pain will understand what I am talking about. They are debilitating and disrupt your daily life both personal and work. I used to say I would never wish one of my headaches on my worst enemy they were so bad. The throbbing pain on one side of your head or in your eye and being sensitive to light of any kind; the facial and jaw pain from muscle tension; the nausea and vomiting all make for a life event you hope will not be repeated but sadly you know that it will. How can you cope when you feel the onset of a major headache. Let us look at what you can do to either prevent or rid yourself of your headache.

Make the TMJ Headache Go Away

Treating your TMJ headache or beginning headache will be as unique to you as your TMJ. Know that many people with severe headaches who seek medical advice to end their pain usually end up frustrated after fruitless attempts at treatments and simply give up looking for ways to improve their lot. However, there are things you can do to rid yourself of your TMJ headache.

  • Lie down in a very quiet, smell-free room that has windows blacked out by special black-out drapes or cover your eyes with a cold damp cloth that will block out light.
  • Support your head and neck.
  • Place a hot or cold compress against back of your neck. Cold will ease pain and reduce inflammation and heat will reduce muscle tension and increase blood flow. I liked to use both but I preferred cold.
  • Drink some water in case you are dehydrated as dehydration can cause headaches.
  • Drink some coffee for the caffeine but I caution you that caffeine can help your headache as well as cause a headache or rebound headache due to caffeine withdrawal. If you are a heavy coffee drinker then do not have the coffee. Some medications have caffeine added to them as it helps the body absorb the medicine faster.
  • Massage your temples, neck, shoulders and back.
  • Take over-the-counter analgesic medicines. If these do not work for you then talk to your doctor about getting stronger medications such as a muscle relaxant or narcotic to prevent a full-blown migraine.
  • Act like you are yawning. This will take tension out of your jaw muscles.
  • Do deep relaxation exercise for the whole body. Lie on your back with arms by your sides and become aware of your feet. Scrunch your toes and flex your feet increasing tension, hold for a few seconds them relax your feet completely. Work your way up the legs, thighs and hips, then hands, arms , shoulders, stomach and finally head, face and jaw.
  • Meditate or use guided visualization. Imagine you are standing in a hot shower and the water is cascading down your head and over the rest of your body.
  • With your mind, focus on the spot in your head where the pain is coming from. Focus on the pain and try to INCREASE it with your mind. You will feel relief from the pain. This can be hard to master for extended length of time but it does work. I got his method from a migraine sufferer.
  • Remove yourself from stressful situations.

Ways to Prevent the TMJ Headache.

  • Mouth splints or mouth guards are often used to aid with sleep and to stop TMJ pain which leads to headaches.
  • Learn Yoga. It is great exercise and will help reduce stress.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Try a soft food diet if your jaw is in constant pain.
  • Correct your posture, stand up straight and learn how to sit correctly at your computer.
  • Become aware of tension in your facial muscles and learn to stretch, massage and relax.
  • Sleep on your back at night with your head and neck properly supported.
  • Learn some TMJ exercises.

Your TMJ Specialist will be able to provide the best treatment options and diagnosis possible. Always seek a second or third opinion.

Please do not accept surgery as your only option for your TMJ until you try alternative non-invasive therapies.


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      Isaac 2 years ago

      I appreciate your kind and geurnoes advice a lot!. I have been trying it hardly and did not get those amazing results!. It is nice to see that you got my comment in a good way!God bless you!VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

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      Tracie 3 years ago


      It would seem my symptoms are very similar to yours. It started as some annoying pressure in my temples and I couldn't bear the headache. Tylenol for days. I really can't do anything stronger and I was miserable. Then for four days it was absolutely excruciating and I went to the doctor because I just don't get headaches, let alone be constantly conscious of every muscle movement in my face. I was diagnosed with a tension headache. I'm beginning to wonder if it's TMJ now because even on prescription pain meds, my jaw feels very tight and laying the side of my face on a pillow is just misery. The pain is in my temples and radiates to the sides of my head and down into my neck. I feel your pain! I hope you've found some relief.

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      Barb 3 years ago

      just wondering just diagnosed with tmj pain everywhere emergency room all week all kinds of narcotics and no appointment is march 7th I have major facial neck and eye pain even had a ct scan to rule out any bleeds or tumors this is a nightmare please help me does this get any better or at least some relief the headaches are so bad I literally just want to sleep and not even pain meds are helping any advice... Do any others get it on both sides of the face and temples and major pressure on and around the skull..desperate.

      Thank you.

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      Faye 4 years ago

      How does yawning help with this type of headache when it can cause dislocation with this type of disorder some of the other things will help some but that seems like trading one pain for something a lot worse

    • moneyshot profile image

      moneyshot 4 years ago

      My wife has had this major headache for months. She is limited on what pain meds available. At a routine teeth cleaning last month the Doctor asked if she ground her teeth because her jaw muscles were very tight. She didn't connect the dots until she got home. She bought the max night guard and after the first more headache. Now going on two weeks with no morning headache. This has been a drug free fix for under $25.00

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      Arylan 5 years ago

      Thank you!