People experiencing chronic and severe headaches normally assume that they are suffering from migraines, but that may not be the case.
A condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TJD, can also cause many of the symptoms associated with migraines, including headaches, facial pain and ringing in the ears.
In addition, sufferers of TJD may experience jaw pain, neck and shoulder pain, lock-jaw, habitual grinding of the teeth and tingling in the hands and fingers.
The condition occurs when the socket connecting the jawbone to the skull is out of alignment. The jaw muscles attempting to keep everything moving correctly then come under considerable stress, causing inflammation.
As a result, the nerves which run through that area are compressed by the swelling, causing severe pain for the unlucky sufferer.
Neuromuscular dentists are best qualified to diagnose the condition, using specialist technology, although ordinary family dentists can also conduct a number of diagnostic tests.
There are a number of ways in which TJD can be treated, including retraining the jaw muscles, recontouring teeth, or using a customized orthotic.
In related news, researchers at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry recently announced that they found a link between the drugs used to treat osteoporosis and 'bone death' (osteonecrosis) in the jaw.
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