Headaches are the second most common reason for patients to visit a doctor and the number one reason for visits to a neurologist.  New neurological research shows that 80% of headaches are tension headaches caused by muscles and nerves in the neck, head and jaws.  Even the most common forms of migraine headaches are caused by these same muscles and nerves. Less than 1% of headaches are caused by tumors, and other pathology inside your skull.

Muscle Tension Headaches

To learn more about the muscles of your head and jaws, try this simple self-test.  Place your fingertips over your temples (just in front of your ears and about an inch behind your eyebrows) on each side of your head.  Clench your teeth together, and you will feel some movement under the skin.  What you are feeling is your temporalis muscles contracting. This muscle is fan shaped and covers about half of each side of your skull. Temporalis muscle spasms are a major cause of tension headaches.


Sinus Headaches

Now feel your cheeks about an inch in front of your ears.  When you clench your teeth, you will feel some major movement in this area.  This is your Masseter muscles contracting.  These muscles are very strong chewing muscles and are attached to your skull on the outer side of your sinuses.  The pressure on the sinuses and the nerve signals to and from these muscles when they are in spasm are a cause of many sinus headaches.  These abnormal nerve signals can even cause swelling in the sinus and nasal linings, leading to the runny nose that seems like sinus trouble.

Migraine Headaches

Even migraine headaches are influenced by the nerve signals from the trigeminal nerve trunk, which sends signals to and from the chewing and facial muscles.  Neurological scientists have found that relieving muscle imbalance by using a dental orthotic, can make most kinds of migraines less severe and less frequent.

Muscle Imbalance

There are ten major pairs of neck and jaw muscles that work together to hold your head up straight and allow you to chew and swallow.  It’s a complex system of muscles and nerves that must work in harmony.  If one or two of these muscles don’t work in harmony with all the others, headaches, cranio/facial pain, and jaw pain often are the result.


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Getting relief from chronic headaches requires getting at the real cause of your pain.  Just taking ever stronger pain medications is not a good long term answer.  Dr. Bryson can thoroughly examine your jaw and neck muscles, jaw joints, and bite using modern ultrasound and neuromuscular technology to determine if they are the cause of your headaches.

He can determine if  your headaches are caused by muscle spasms, jaw joint problems, or bite imbalance.  If you are ready to get rid of your chronic tension headaches, call our office today for your appointment, and take the first step towards a headache free life. To learn more or to schedule an appointment contact our office at (662) 823-7900.

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