Have you been told by a dentist that your headaches are from TMJ? What has your dentist done to rule out a brain tumor? misdiagnosed
“There are many different kinds of headaches, but TMJ headaches typically occur with other symptoms,” says Jeffrey Haddad, DDS, of Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry in Rochester, MI.
However, the presence of these other symptoms does NOT rule out a brain tumor as the cause of one’s headaches.
Nor is it impossible that a person can have both TMJ disorder and a brain tumor.
Dr. Haddad says TMD symptoms include the following:
• tight facial or jaw muscles
• jaw or facial pain
• neck or upper cervical pain
• a “clicking” or “popping” noise in the jaw
• restricted movement of the jaw
• changes in the bite
“If a person’s bite and lower jaw are out of alignment, this puts additional strain on muscles, which leads to the headaches,” says Dr. Haddad.
“If your muscles are not functioning well because of fatigue from supporting one or both of your TMJ joints in an improper position, they produce pain.
“It’s much like when you exercise hard and feel muscle pain later. The only difference is that TMJ is more subtle and chronic.” misdiagnosis
The TMJ Headache
“TMJ headaches also often recur in one or more regions of the head and face or can feel like tension headaches,” continues Dr. Haddad.
“The most common areas for TMJ headaches are in the temporal regions (in front of the ears), the back of the head at the base of the neck, and then in the forehead area above the eyes.
“This can occur bilaterally, but most often is more intense on one side of the head.
“This can also change over time if the TMJ disorder is not treated due to accommodation of the body and person’s behavior. misdiagnosed
“Further asymmetries can occur as the temporomandibular joint deteriorates or muscular splinting becomes more prominent on one side.”
TMJ Headache? Or Brain Tumor?
“The majority of patients whom I consult with are often worried about much scarier diagnoses like brain tumors and cancers,” says Dr. Haddad.
“The head pain and discomfort they are feeling makes people immediately assume the worst, especially when their dentist or physician is not giving them any solutions. misdiagnose
“However, when they exhibit the many signs and symptoms of the TMJ disorders that I treat every day, the odds are that their headaches are the result of a poor jaw posture and TMJ disorder.”
Brain tumor headaches are known for being present when someone wakes up in the morning, though a brain tumor headache can occur any time in the day.
Furthermore, obstructive sleep apnea is another condition that’s notorious for causing morning headaches, and this condition has overlap with temporomandibular joint disorder.
But unlike the morning headaches of a brain tumor, the morning sleep apnea headache goes away within 30 minutes of getting out of bed.
Another important point is that many people with a brain tumor that’s big enough to be causing headaches also experience other symptoms – symptoms that TMJ would never cause, such as vision disturbances, changes in cognition or personality, nausea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss and seizures. misdiagnose
But a brain tumor can also cause other symptoms that TMJ disorder can cause, such as tinnitus and dizziness.
How to Avoid Misdiagnosis of a Brain Tumor for TMJ
There’s no way around it: You must have an imaging study of your head.
Dr. Haddad explains, “Despite my clinical findings, every TMJ patient I treat has a cone beam CT taken that visualizes the entire head and upper neck in three dimensions.
“It is then sent and analyzed by a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology to rule out any tumors or abnormalities on the scan.
“If anything suspicious is found on that 3D scan, the patient is referred to the proper medical professional for evaluation.
“In my opinion, this is imperative in the proper treatment of any patient exhibiting certain head and neck symptoms.
“TMJ headaches are uncomfortable but may be treated by a variety of remedies.
“If the cause is your TMJ, treatments aiming at the root cause can help ease headache pain and allow you to take precautions to prevent future headaches.”