Here are two causes of a chronic daily headache that should not be overlooked, but often are: nerve entrapment and TMJ disorder.
If you experience a headache more than 15 days a month, this is called a chronic daily headache (CDH), and can have numerous causes including a sinus issue (even without feelings of congestion or a runny nose).
However, a headache nearly every day can also be caused by the entrapment of some nerves located in the head – not deep in the head, but just beneath the skin, superficially.
For patients with this diagnosis, a doctor can surgically release the “entrapped” nerves, resulting in a significant improvement for the patient’s symptoms: fewer headaches, and when they do occur, they’re not as bad.
How is it determined if daily headache is caused by superficial nerve entrapment?
The doctor administers a nerve block or Botox injection. If the patient has temporary relief, then this indicates nerve entrapment.
TMD is a possible cause of chronic headache every day.
TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, and laypeople usually refer to it as “TMJ.”
“Pain from temporomandibular disorders and pain from headache disorders often overlap in daily settings.” says Brijesh Chandwani, DMD, BDS, Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain, with Connecticut & NY TMJ.
“Headache pain occurs when neurons from the trigeminal nerve are irritated or sensitized (at times it could be vagus or glossopharyngeal nerves).
“This disorder of the nerves (in headaches) is not exactly understood, but is thought to be related to inflammation, chemical stimulation, mechanical stimulation — or at times the nerves are irritated for no [known] reason.”
What exactly is TMJ disorder?
Dr. Chandwani explains, “TMD typically involves pain in the jaw and head muscles and pain in the jaw joint due to joint disease, muscle spasms, muscle dysfunctions or a disease process in the area.
“TMD also irritates the trigeminal nerve [fifth cranial nerve] — or irritation of the trigeminal nerve is present in people suffering from TMD. This can often trigger more headaches.”
TMJ Disorder Treatment
“Treatment of TMD often reduces these triggers and reduces the frequency of the headaches, but does not reduce the intensity of the headache which is due to neurogenic inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, vagus nerve or the glossopharyngeal nerve,” says Dr. Chandwani.
“Treatment of TMD can start at home with warm compresses over the jaw, temples for 10-15 minutes twice daily.”
Dr. Chandwani has 10+ years of experience focusing on TMJ disorders and sleep disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.