I wake up with headaches


When you wake up with a headache, does it persist throughout the day? If it does, you should probably get yourself a complete physical checkup, especially if it is chronic and acute, since what you have may be a symptom of some serious medical condition. If however, your headache eventually always subsides or dissipates following waking up, it may be that what you experience when you wake up is “tension headache” caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders or some other oral condition that can be addressed with a single visit to the dentist. When you have a TMJ disorder, you tend to wake up with a headache because you are not getting a proper sleep. While the rest of you is relaxing, the muscles in your jaw and face are still working overtime.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders refer to a variety of ailments which can affect the jaw area, especially the joints connecting the mandible with the base of the skull. It is typically characterised by constant dull pain and stiffness in the jaw as well as by sounds of popping, clicking or grating when moving the mouth. There are many possible causes of TMJ disorders, including osteoarthritis which can result in the wear and tear of the jaw joints’ inside parts; gout or rheumatoid arthritis which can lead to inflammation of the jaw joints and the surrounding tissues; trauma or physical injury to the jaw, face or mouth areas; and much more typically, bad sleeping habits like bruxism or teeth grinding which can inordinately stress the jaw and face muscles. Habitual repetitious teeth grinding during sleep can particularly result to a very intense headache when waking up.

Treatment for TMJ disorders necessarily depends on their underlying cause or causes and can range from specialized surgery to simple lifestyle changes. In very severe cases, surgery may be the only option. Sometimes, total prosthetic replacement of the joints themselves may be the only option. Here the diseased joints and other parts of the jaw are surgically replaced with artificial substitutes made from suitable material. In other cases, as when the TMJ disorders resulted from arthritis or some similarly debilitating disease, the sufferer may be placed on a steroid therapy. Fortunately, in the vast majority of TMJ cases, merely taking some over-the-counter analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication, like paracetamol and ibuprofen, often brings relief. Other self-help measures that can be tried by sufferers include applying cold or hot compress on the affected area, massaging the jaw muscles from time to time and resisting the habit of resting the chin on a hand while watching TV, working, thinking or daydreaming. Those who habitually unconsciously grind their teeth while sleeping can have their dentist fit them with special night guards to keep them from damaging their teeth and straining their jaw muscles. For instance, at Smile Studios, we can fit you with a Sleepwell mandibular advancement splint. While it can keep you from snoring, it can also prevent your upper and lower teeth from coming together, thereby stopping the subconscious clenching and grinding of your teeth while you sleep.





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