Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Could a TMJ Specialist be the Solution to your Morning Headaches?

A morning headache isn’t the best way to start a day. Still, it isn’t unusual. Research shows that about 5% of the population wakes up with a morning headache, of which 1.3% regularly get it. But have you ever had a morning headache that made you stop and think? And not the mellow headache that usually goes by itself, but the prolonged chronic headache that causes sharp, throbbing pains throughout your head and neck?

Several factors can cause morning headaches. Some of the common ones are stress or a miserable night’s sleep. Still, there are other uncommon situations, which can cause prolonged morning headaches. This post factors in some of the far-out reasons for morning headaches so you can identify the proper treatment plan.

Anxiety or Depression

Yes, you heard it correctly. For a long time, researchers have associated morning headaches to sleeping disorders like snoring, sleep apnea or insomnia. However, according to a report published by WebMD, depression or anxiety could be another reason for the early morning headaches. Researchers found out that about 29% of people suffering from depression or anxiety experienced frequent morning headaches.

In addition, researchers also realized that mental illnesses like these tend to trigger insomnia, which further intensifies your morning headaches. If you suspect having a mental condition, consider visiting a doctor soon. This will help treat the pain without overuse of incorrect medication.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, could significantly increase your headache levels. Usually, bruxism is an unconscious night problem that involves clenching and grinding of teeth. Note that people who clench their teeth during the night can exert up to five times the force than when they’re conscious. This grinding of teeth puts unnecessary force on the TMJ resulting in neck pain, tension-style headaches, and an unproductive sleep.

Besides causing you pain, this condition can also lead to damage of teeth. People who grind their teeth should visit a TMJ specialist for treatment. Treatment may involve using a mouthguard. Also, making behavioral changes like avoiding chewing gums and reducing stress can immensely reduce pressure on your gums.

Sleep Apnea

Another reason that could be causing your morning headaches and even giving you a feeling of exhaustion is obstructive sleep apnea. Studies show that about 22 million Americans suffer from this disease, of which 80% of both severe and moderate obstructive sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed.

This condition blocks your breathing through the night, making you choke and wake frequently. Such disrupted sleep results in chronic tiredness, headaches, and daytime sleepiness. If left untreated, it may also increase the chances of you developing:
  • Acid reflux diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attacks
  • Anxiety and depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Behavioral issues (in children)
Considering the high-risks it brings, make sure to visit your hospital for a sleep analysis if you, your spouse, or child is suffering from this condition. Making lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol, losing weight, or even refraining from lying on the back can help you rest better. Along with improving your lifestyle, sufferers can also wear CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Devices) to minimize nocturnal choking.

Other Health Conditions  

Sometimes, the reason for your headache may not be sleep-related but rather a health condition. Yes, frequent early morning headaches may arise due to health conditions like hypertension, musculoskeletal diseases, or brain tumors. If this is the underlying situation in your case, then treatment should help reduce incidents of morning headaches. On the other hand, if the medication prescribed causes headaches, discuss it with your doctor for alternatives. Don’t stop medication without consulting your physician first.


Virtually all types of sleep conditions can be to blame for aching heads. Poor sleep can result in headaches, and sometimes-too much sleep can be a factor too. On most occasions, insomnia has been the key complaint of headache sufferers. Lying awake is a painful experience that can often lead to mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Nonetheless, going for treatment, which includes taking medication or getting specialized therapy, can help you get better rest and reduced headaches. You should also refrain from oversleeping so that it also doesn’t become a factor.

Bottom Line

There are many potential causes for chronic headaches, but it’s always best to look into your lifestyle patterns first before you think of other health problems. You can gain so much if you could also visit a specialist for guidance and consultation. That way, you can get back to living your best life again.

This is a guest blog entry.

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