05 May Headache and Jaw Pain: Causes of and Treatment
Physiotherapists treat headaches. Headaches can come from the neck, upper trapezius, jaw or cranial (head) muscle tension or trigger points. Irritation or ‘pinching’ of nerves by stiff joints in the top vertebrae of the neck, or from other cranial nerves such as the trigeminal nerve can cause headaches. Other causes are diet, tension or stress. A previous concussion can cause tension of the cranium and headaches.
There are many different types of headaches, and causes of headaches.
Jaw clenching or bruxing commonly results in headaches, neck, or shoulder pain. A splint protects your teeth and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), but does not prevent tension in muscles that causes pain.
Cranio-sacral treatment is most effective for treating headaches. It is a gentle hands-on treatment to release tight muscles, mobilise stiff joints, release compression on nerves, release tension in the jaw and restore movement of fluids within the spinal dura and cranium.
Other physiotherapy treatments are joint mobilisation, stretching, laser, strengthening exercises (esp of the deep neck flexors), and postural advice.
At The Physio & Yoga Clinic in Crows Nest, we assess and treat the neck and TMJ, and the upper shoulders, for trigger points, nerve irritation or joint stiffness causing headaches. We release jaw muscles internally if required, this is gentle. Releasing tight muscles of the jaw interrupts a feedback loop of tension causing more clenching; clenching causes tension, and tension causes clenching.
Exercises can be shown to you to restore normal muscle function. Methods of releasing stress such as mindfulness and meditation also can help reduce jaw clenching.