Blood Flow Changes
The human body has numerous blood vessels that run from the shoulders to the neck and jaws. Changes in this blood flow can be caused by abnormal jaw positions, clenching, neck dysfunction, and imbalances between teeth, jaws, and the neck. The reasons behind any vascular changes in your head is normally caused by abnormal muscle activity and compression. It’s what neurologists coin as 'vascular problems.' The TMJ directly affects this blood flow especially when you consider how close it is to the carotid artery. TMJ compression will alter the blood flow of the jaws, face, eyes, lips, ears, skull, and even inside of the brain.
The nerves also get caught up in the middle of this dysfunction. These nerves can become strangled by the powerful muscles, which surround them. The trigeminal and facial nerves are responsible for the majority of sensation and action in the head, from your eyes to your gums and cheeks. These two nerves travel from the brain through or around the TMJ area. Any damage or compression of the TMJ area will cause irritation and dysfunction of these nerves. All ten cranial nerves work together to provide function and sensation to your head area. Dysfunction in any of these nerves will cause a problem in the others because they all eventually connect in the same general area of your spinal cord and brain.
There is a lot of undeniable medical research which clearly indicates that headaches are caused by irritation to the trigeminal and facial nerves, as well as blood flow changes of the carotid artery. At the same time there is a complete black hole when it comes time to being able to diagnose and treat these problems as most specialists are not trained properly.
Nerves + Blood Flow
Research shows that over 30% of your body’s nerves pass near the jaw joint. On top of that, 25% of the nerves of your body go to your mouth and jaw. It’s no wonder that your jaws and muscles affect the entire body. It is clear that these effects are far reaching, and hard to diagnose. That is the reason that most patients with head pain experience problems with other parts of their bodies, such as the heart and digestive system.
The Critical Role of Your TMJoints and Muscles
TMJ stands for the jaw joints, commonly referred to as the Temporo-Mandibular Joints. TMJoints are the most complex joints in your body. Only the TMJoints have the ability to open, close, slide forward, backward, and side-to-side. Between the bones of the TMJoints is a semi- tough piece of cartilage referred to as the 'disk.'
A small muscle that is connected to the front of the disk pulls the jaw forward as the mouth opens. As the mouth closes, elastic-like ligaments and connective tissue pull the disk back. These ligaments make it possible for the disk to follow the movements of the lower jaw at all times. This delicate balance can be interrupted and destroyed by muscle spasms and ligament damage. As a result, the disks can dislocate and fall out of place.
The TMJoints get caught in the middle of the struggle between your teeth, jaws, and muscles. A damaged disc can result in bone on bone contact, which ultimately increases headaches, facial pain, and earaches.
Patients that have damaged joints normally exhibit abnormal joint sounds. Sometimes a popping, clicking, or grating sound may be heard from the joint, as the jaw is opened and closed. Pain may be associated with these problems. However, not every patient who has joint damage will exhibit joint noises. Some patients with long-term structural damage may have no discernible signs of damage.
Many migraine sufferers have compressed their joints to the point that the head of the jaw has bent and twisted itself, in an effort to heal. Their joints have 'conformed' to the damage, more or less. These patients are the ones who have seen countless physicians attempting to get a cure for their headaches.
Their body has learned to cope with the jaw joint compression, however the effects of this compression is transmitted to the head in the form of migraines or other facial pain. To learn more, contact Today’s Headache Institute today! We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the blood flow analysis.