Although there are still many mysteries related to the origin and spread of migraine pain, we have learned that many migraines are triggered by the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is the largest cranial nerve: it emerges from the base of the skull and splints into three branches, which carry messages to most of the face as well as conveying pain back to the brain.

In response to this knowledge, some doctors recommend deadening the nerve to keep migraines under control. The logic is that migraines are caused by overload from pain signals carried along the trigeminal nerve. This can work, but it might be more effective to stop the cause of pain that overloads the trigeminal nerve, which may very well be related to TMJ.

man experiencing jaw pain


One technique for deadening branches is SPG (sphenopalatine ganglion) block. In an SPG block, doctors seek to deaden the nerves by squirting anesthetic up the nose using a flexible catheter, twice a week for six weeks.

It typically takes another two weeks to see results, although they can be good. Sometimes people see a reduction in headaches days of up to 17 per month.

Limitations of SPG

SPG does have a fairly positive, if short, track record for migraine treatment. However, there are many reasons why you might want to choose other treatments for your migraines, even if you know that your migraines are caused by overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve.

It doesn’t stop stimulation. Although SPG can stop the negative effects that come from overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve, the nerve is still under pressure. This means that the migraines can return, or you may experience other effects from the nerve.

It doesn’t address other symptoms. Many people with migraines also experience other types of chronic pain, such as neck pain, back pain, and jaw pain. The migraine may have been the worse, but these other TMJ symptoms will come to the fore when the migraines go away.

It doesn’t protect against progressive damage. Without headaches, you are doing much better, but you may still have other symptoms related to the cause of your nerve pressure. If your nerve is being pressured by your jaw joint or jaw muscles due to TMJ, that muscle action and joint misalignment can have long-term consequences in terms of joint damage, tooth damage, and more.

Before Deadening Nerves, Try Freeing Them

Often, an overstimulated trigeminal nerve is experiencing pressure from misaligned jaw joints or jaw muscles. Before deadening nerves, you should investigate whether you can relieve the pressure and see long-term, drug-free relief from migraines and other symptoms.

To learn whether TMJ might be responsible for your migraines, please call (248) 656-2020 today for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry.