What makes your head hurt? There are many causes for headaches, and it’s important to understand what they are in order to treat patients properly. One type of headache we often see in our patients is of vascular origin. There are nerve endings around the blood vessels that cushion and protect the brain from injury. When the blood vessels swell, they push against the brain causing a vascular headache. A migraine would be one example of this, where the nerve endings are hyper sensitized by a stimulus such as jaw joint inflammation or inflammation of the nose and sinuses.
There are also headaches that come from the neck which are caused by trauma to the spine, as in the case of a car accident. The ligaments in the neck become torn and the vertebrae are displaced, which radiate to the back of the head causing the pain at the base of the skull. Not only does this type of injury cause pain in the head, the airway is connected to the spine and, if the vertebrae are out of place, it can affect how you breath as well. Not being able to breathe correctly further compounds the headaches.
When diagnosing the cause of headaches, we will also ask questions such as what time of day do they typically occur? If you wake up without pain but have headaches as the day goes on, that would signal a postural headache or musculoskeletal problem.
Headaches that occur when you wake up in the morning are most likely from breathing problems. You may be hypoxic and not getting enough oxygen to the brain during sleep. Additionally, it could be muscle problems from mouth breathing, an abnormal occurrence, as you should normally breathe through your nose. This causes the muscles that close your mouth to fatigue, leading to tension headaches.
At Center for TMJ & Sleep Solutions NW in Auburn & Silverdale, we work closely with you to determine the root cause of your symptoms so we can properly care for and treat your condition. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions concerning TMD or sleep disorders.