Everyone agrees: Migraines are the worst. These debilitating, recurrent headaches often put sufferers completely out of commission — in fact, people with migraines lose an average of ten working days a year!
Unfortunately, despite plenty of attempts to study them, migraines remain largely a medical mystery. Researchers still don’t really know what triggers them, or why some people are so much more likely to suffer from them. This can make treatment and prevention of migraines incredibly challenging, or even impossible.
Birth Control Could be Linked to Migraines
However, recent studies have indicated that there could be a link between hormonal birth control and migraines in women. Some research has already shown that hormone levels can play a role in frequency of migraines, with some women reporting that they are more likely to get migraines just before their period, when their estrogen levels drop.
Since most hormonal birth control contains synthetic versions of the naturally occurring female hormones estrogen and progesterone, those whose migraines are tied to hormone levels could see drastic changes to their migraine frequency while taking birth control. Those changes could be for the better or for the worse, depending on the person: For some women, the way the pill regulates their hormone levels can actually help prevent migraines. For others, hormonal birth control can make migraines happen more often, and be even more painful.
TMJ Can Worsen Migraines, Too
If you suffer from TMJ, you are also at an increased risk of suffering from migraines. Not only can TMJ cause tension headaches and make migraines worse, there is even some evidence that it could trigger migraines as well. In fact, the trigeminal nerve, which studies show may play a role in the triggering of migraines, runs right past the temporomandibular joint — which puts it in a prime spot to be irritated by TMJ.
Unfortunately, whether your migraines are tied to TMJ or birth control or both, treatment for migraines is almost as mysterious as what causes them. Researchers disagree on the best treatments, and many of the medications prescribed for migraines have terrifying side effects.
Luckily, there is a treatment for TMJ that has been proven to have an effect on migraines: TENS, a type of electric massage, that immediately reduces your muscle tension. When paired with a custom-fitted orthotic appliance to keep your jaw in the proper position while you sleep, studies show that this treatment can significantly reduce the frequency of TMJ-related migraines, and may even reduce the severity.
Don’t let migraines stop you — let us help you reclaim your life! If you have TMJ-related migraines and want long-term relief, contact us for a consultation online or at (619) 299-5925.