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2 weeks ago i woke up with a headache down the left side of my face. I’m still geting it now it starts about ten minuets after I wake up an last no longer than half hour. The pain is in my temple above my eye down my face in my jaw teeth back of head an neck… I’ve been the doctors who just keep giving me anti inflammatory that don’t work also been the opthalmologist who said my eyes are fine.

With your reported medical history of TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder) diagnosed two years ago, it is likely that you are experiencing tension headaches – one of the most common forms of headaches.

Tension headaches occur in any age group but are most common among adolescents and adults. These headaches are characterized by dull pressure in a tight band across the head often worst in the scalp, temples, back of neck, and shoulders. The pain may be episodic, daily, weekly and last from 30 minutes to days.

Tension headaches are believed to be muscular in origin and occur when the muscles in the scalp, temples, or neck contract or spasm – there is no structural brain abnormality. Therefore, tension headaches can be caused by stress, anxiety, or head/neck trauma. In your case, because of the distribution of pain, the tension headaches appear to be caused by your TMJ. Other known triggers of tension headaches include: eye strain, dental problems (jaw clenching, teeth grinding), alcohol use, caffiene use, cold/flu, or sinus/ear infections.

The first line of treatment is often with nonprescription NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. Relaxation techniques may also help decrease the headaches. If NSAIDs and conservative treatment do not work, then second line treatments include: muscle relaxants or antidepressants (SSRIs or Tricyclics). Headaches that worsen in nature, are associated with vision abnormalities, or induce nausea/vomiting are more serious in nature and require additional medical work up by a licensed professional.

In your case, it appears the headaches are being triggered by your TMJ and therefore you should explore options with your doctor to have that treated before exploring pharmacotherapy.

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