By Dr. Frederick Abeles

Published May 29, 2022

Home Blog Tips for TMJ Pain and Headache Relief

We all know there are multiple causes of headaches. TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) is one of them. A TMJ headache is characterized by pain that starts in the muscles of the head and neck. Muscles can feel sore, tired, tense or painful to the touch.

Pain has to start somewhere – whether it’s in bone, muscle, skin, connective tissue, nerve or gland. Pain doesn’t just appear out of thin air. There’s always a primary cause – a culprit.

Most times, the culprit is muscle. That’s why you see so many TV commercials for Botox. It’s FDA approved for the treatment of migraines. Why? Because the botulinum toxin (Botox) when injected into the muscles of the head and neck, temporarily paralyze the muscles that are causing the headache pain.

Sounds pretty good… until you realize you have to get about 30 shots of Botox in your head and neck every three months because it wears off quickly.

But the takeaway… most headaches are caused by muscles of the head and neck. That begs the question… are there other ways to calm the muscles of the head and neck causing headaches, without shots?

The answer is YES.

Woman with headache rubbing temples

But first, how can you tell the difference between a TMJ headache and other headaches?

Start by answering these 3 questions:

1. Do you avoid certain foods because they’re difficult to chew and cause pain when you eat? Is it hard to open wide? Are there clicking or popping sounds in your jaw joints when you chew? If so, that can be a sign your headache may be a TMJ headache.

2. Have you tried prescription medications with no results? Have you been prescribed Imitrex, Aimovig, Topamax, Elavil, Maxalt, Neurontin or others? If your headache didn’t respond to these medications, that can be a sign your headache may be a TMJ headache.

3. Do you rub your head and neck constantly when you have a headache? Does the rubbing make it feel slightly better… even if just for a moment? (HINT: you’re trying to relax your muscles). If so, that can be a sign your headache may be a TMJ headache.

Woman on chair head down with headache

If you answered “YES” to any of these 3 questions, your headache may be caused by TMJ dysfunction. The muscles that position and stabilize your TMJ may be fatigued, stressed or spasmed. The result…  pain. Learn more here.

There’s help for your TMJ headache

Temporary relief:

Place an ice pack on the painful area. Fifteen minutes on. Fifteen minutes off. Take over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol, Advil, Motrin or Excedrin to get temporary headache relief. You can try ginger. A study done in 2014 showed no difference in migraine relief between a small dose of ginger versus sumatriptan.

Definitive TMJ headache relief:

At the Atlanta Center for TMJ, our MIRO Therapy® treats TMJ and headache pain without shots, drugs or surgery. And MIRO Therapy® is so effective that the results of your treatment are unconditionally guaranteed. In essence… you’ll love your results or your money back.

If you’re tired of Botox and prescription medications… maybe it’s time to let us help.

Consider this… you can spend an hour with us and discover what’s been causing your pain and how to successfully treat it.

Or you can continue on as is.

Everything starts with a conversation. Are you in?

If so, start one here or call us at 770-214-4182 now.

Click here to learn about MIRO Therapy®



After 40 years of almost daily headaches, it’s life changing to have such a reduction in the number of headaches I have. I wish I had found Dr. Abeles and his team much earlier in my life.