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Migraines can steal days or even weeks from your life at a time. The excruciating pain a migraine brings is its own particular type of torture that can leave you sensitive to lights and sounds and hiding out in dark room, praying for relief.
If you’ve never had a migraine, you’re one of the lucky ones. But, if you or a loved one suffers from these severe headaches that can come on without warning, last until you don’t know if you can take another second and even land you in the emergency room, there is hope…
A scientific study by Brazilian researchers could offer a natural way to decrease the frequency of your migraines and the pain that comes with them using simple home exercises.
Linking your jaw to your headaches
The scientists based their research on previous studies indicating that migraine is somehow associated with pain in the chewing muscles in your jaw.
And, they discovered that people with migraines are far more likely to suffer from jaw problems, specifically temporomandibular joint disorder (sometimes known as TMJ disorder or TMD).
In fact, they found that 80 percent of people who suffer occasional migraines also have TMJ issues. And, a whopping 100 percent of chronic migraine patients have TMJ problems.
So, what’s the connection?
Well according to the researchers, although TMJ problems aren’t the cause of your migraines, they are a perpetuating factor… In other words, they make your migraine pain worse and can cause you to have migraines more often.
That’s because he TMJ problems sensitize your body to pain and lead to a constant input of pain signals that can set off a migraine attack.
That also means that relieving your TMJ issues can help relieve your migraines too – a win-win.
At-home TMJ relief
Here’s what you need to know to improve your TMJ problems and your migraines.
Your TMJ acts like a sliding hinge connecting your jawbone to your skull.
When it’s not functioning properly, you can have difficulty chewing, tight, painful or worn out jaw muscles, and even pain that radiates to your face and neck.
Luckily, it’s also a condition from which you can get significant relief using some simple at-home techniques… The most important being exercise – specifically jaw exercises.
In fact, studies have shown that compared to using a splint for your TMJ (a common medical treatment), performing daily exercises results in higher improvements in mouth-opening range and recovery of jaw functions.
Here are the exercises to perform:
- Relax Your Mouth – Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth. Slowly let your teeth part as your jaw muscles relax.
- Opening and Closing – Yep, it’s as simple as it sounds. Gently open your mouth as wide as possible and hold for a few seconds before closing. Repeat five times.
- Chin Tucks – This one helps deal with any posture problems that may be contributing to your TMJ issues. Simply pull your chin back toward your neck to make it look like you have a double chin and hold for three to five seconds. Repeat five times.
- Opening and Closing with Tongue Up – Now, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth like in number one and slowly open your mouth. Hold for a few seconds and close. Repeat five times.
Other ways to help your jaw and your migraines with it include:
- Eating soft foods – When your jaw is tight, foods that require a lot of chewing can cause the problem to get worse – so, while you’re working to relax your jaw, it’s important to stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods.
- Using ice and heat – Ice packs to your jaw muscles can help to naturally relieve inflammation while warm packs work to relax tight muscles. Try them out and see which one works best for you or alternate between the two.
- Knowing which supplements can help – Natural supplements with relaxation and anti-inflammatory properties can help get you over the worst of your TMJ problems. Muscle relaxing supplements include magnesium and kava and to reduce inflammation, take fish oil and MSM.
Although your tight jaw muscles may not be the cause of your migraines, they can make them worse and more frequent. Overcome this problem and finally find help by using the exercises and other tips above to relax your TMJ for migraine relief.
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- Chronic migraine cases are amplified by jawbone disorder — Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo
- Randomized Clinical Trial of Treatment for TMJ Disc Displacement — Journal of Dental Research
- Magnesium: The Most Powerful Relaxation Mineral Available — huffingtonpost.com
- Pain Relieving Properties of Kava kava.com
- Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain — Surgical Neurology
- MSM Is A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory — drsamberne.com