Headache (cephalgia) is a common complaint among TMD-TMJ patients. Consulting the literature on the incidence of headache yields widely varying results in study populations. This is due to the wide variety of craniofacial pain symptoms, including headache, and the various methods used to categorize headache pain. In spite of this epidemiologic confusion, there are some things we “kind of” know about TMD and headache. Based upon current studies it seems that between 14% and 26% of all headaches are associated with TMD and over 90% of TMD patients list headache as a primary symptom. Muscle tension headache appears to be the dominant type of headache and may be mild or debilitating. Migraine headache is also strongly associated with TMD. Although published studies offer scarce information on this relationship, clinical observations support the consideration of TMD as a cause of significant numbers of migraine headache.
In my own practice over 80% of TMD patients presenting with migraine type headache achieve significant or total relief. As with all medical disorders, a very thorough diagnosis with identification of contributing factors is key to effective therapy. In my experience, deficiency of diagnostic evaluation is the chief cause of treatment failure.
More of this subject later.