Headaches can range in severity from minor nuisances to completely debilitating. One of the keys to pain relief from constant headaches is to identify the root cause. Many people do not know that some headaches are caused by muscle and nerve problems. According to Dr. Ivan Stein, here are some of the common muscle and nerve problems that can lead to headaches.
If you have read our blog for a while, you may be aware that problems with the jaw muscle can lead to headaches. More specifically, a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder, which affects the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement, is a common cause of headaches. TMJ disorder, or TMD, can occur due to a variety of factors including arthritis or jaw injuries. TMD can worsen over time, increasing the frequency or severity of associated headaches.
Tense Muscles or a Pinched Nerve in the Neck
Other lesser-known problems that can lead to headaches are tense muscles or a pinched nerve in the neck. A group of muscles called the suboccipital muscles sits at the base of the skill and controls movements between the skull and the first and second vertebrae in the neck. Factors like trauma, eye strain, poor ergonomics or posture or teeth grinding can cause the suboccipital muscles to become tense or tender, and tension in the muscles can compress a nerve that exits the base of the skull. When this happens, it can trigger pain above the eyes and over the head.
Pinched Nerve in the Spine
Just like a pinched nerve in the neck can cause headaches, so can a pinched nerve in the spine. If an area of the spine becomes inflamed or shifts, it can tweak or trap the position of a nerve, pinching it. Depending on which nerves are pinched, this can cause headaches, migraines and other unpleasant symptoms like nausea or vertigo.
Talk to a Headache Specialist
It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of headaches without the help of a professional. If you are experiencing regular headaches. Dr. Stein suggests you be screened by a doctor. Not only can consulting with a headache specialist lead to pain relief, it can also confirm whether your headaches are actually a sign that something more serious is happening with your health.
To book an appointment with Dr. Stein, please call the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey at (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627.