The holidays are a festive time for most people, but for others mistletoe may come with a side of headaches. If you are one of these people who develops headaches around the holidays, you may be developing TMJ.

Here’s how to tell if TMJ is to blame for your holiday headaches.

Eliminate Other Causes

Of course, there are many reasons why you could be getting headaches around the holidays. Too much holiday cheer, for example, can lead to headaches. If you’re getting headaches while drinking or the next morning, try cutting back a little bit.

Headaches are a warning sign of TMJ

Along with alcohol, dehydration is common during the holiday season. With the cold weather, the air is drier, especially inside where forced air heat sucks out the moisture. And because you’re on the go all the time (and when you’re not, you’re enjoying holiday cheer), you may be forgetting to drink enough water. So make sure you’re drinking enough liquid.

Also make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It’s easy to find things to keep you up all night (like browsing for the best cyber deals), but it’s important to make yourself get to sleep. If you’re spending enough time in bed, but you’re still waking up unrested (and maybe with a headache), you may have sleep apnea (which, incidentally, is related to TMJ).

TMJ-Related Headache Triggers

There are many holiday activities that might cause you to develop TMJ-related headaches. You probably see many people during the holidays that you haven’t seen all year (or maybe in several years), so it’s natural to spend a lot of time talking. All that jaw activity can stress your jaw muscles, and that jaw tension can translate into headaches.

And then there are the holiday foods that can stress your jaw: those chewy lumps in fruitcake, crunchy peanut brittle, and Aunt Edith’s dried-out turkey. If eating challenging foods triggers a headache, you may have TMJ.

Finally, holiday stress may be the important mediator in causing your headaches. If the stress of the holidays makes you clench your jaw and you get headaches, it’s likely that you have or are developing TMJ.

So, Is It TMJ?

So, how do you find out if your headaches really are related to TMJ? Perhaps the best way is to watch out for other symptoms of TMJ. Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Earaches and ear fullness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain

If you have any of these symptoms as well as headaches, then it’s likely that you have TMJ.

Another way to tell that you might have or might be developing TMJ is that your headache remedies are not controlling your headaches.

If you suspect TMJ, you should see a neuromuscular dentist for diagnosis. Even if you’ve been diagnosed with migraines or other types of headaches, the true cause of your headaches may be TMJ.

If you are looking for help with headaches or other symptoms of TMJ in the Detroit area, please call (248) 656-2020 today for an appointment with a neuromuscular dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry.