A Screening Procedure for Differentiating Temporomandibular Joint Related Headache




Headache and facial pain are common complaints of patients seeking medical advice. Recurrent headache and temporomandibular joint related muscle spasms are frequent sources of patient cranial pain. This study suggests a procedure for differentiating temporomandibular joint related head pain from other forms of head pain and a mode of treatment that may be effective for TMJ related head pain.

The results of a two year investigation indicate both vascular and muscle tension headache may be improved by orthopedic repositioning of the mandible. Although the study was not able to demonstrate a clear-cut method for differentiating vascular from muscle tension head pain, differentiation from more serious organic pathology and/or underlying structural lesion may be effective.

Forty-two consecutive patients that complained of hemicrania were given a soft flexible plastic mouthguard to wear while sleeping. Those patients that reported fewer or less severe headaches after one to two weeks (40 out of 42) were then given an orthopedic appliance to reposition the mandible forward and increase the vertical interocclusal dimension.