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Understanding the Relationship Between Headaches, Migraines, TMJ, and Vision



In the intricate web of systems in our bodies, seemingly separate parts often intertwine in surprising ways. When it comes to headaches and migraines, the relationship between vision and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) function might not be immediately apparent. However, delving deeper reveals a fascinating interplay that sheds light on the complexity of our physiological mechanisms, and may even explain some of the most commonly experience symptomology.


Let's start with headaches and migraines. These are common afflictions that can significantly impact one's quality of life. While headaches can stem from various causes, migraines are a specific type characterized by intense throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. Understanding the triggers and contributing factors to migraines is crucial for effective management. Migraines can both cause sensitivities, but over-sensitivities can also cause migraines, so understanding triggers can help us prevent a seemingly “stuck” situation.


One surprising link lies in our visual system. Visual disturbances are a hallmark of migraines for many individuals, often manifesting as aura – a series of sensory disturbances that can include flickering lights, blind spots, or zigzagging lines in the visual field. These visual disturbances are believed to result from cortical spreading depression, a wave of neuronal hyperactivity followed by depression that affects the visual cortex. Less known is the effect that vision has in the movement and posture systems of the body. Just because someone can see acutely doesn’t mean their peripheral vision integrates well with their vestibular and proprioceptive systems. Understanding the link between these systems can help with intervention and accelerate recovery.


Now, let's turn our attention to the TMJ, the Joint that connects the lower jawbone (Mandible) to the bones of the skull (Temporals). Dysfunction in this joint can lead to a variety of symptoms, including jaw pain, clicking, or popping sounds, and difficulty chewing. These would be examples of dysfunctional movement of the Mandible moving on the Temporals. Surprisingly, TMJ dysfunction has been implicated in certain types of headaches, particularly tension-type headaches. This would be an example of dysfunctional movement of the Temporals on the Mandible (MTJ), a sometimes ignored or poorly understood concept in the medical community. An even more surprising link is that of the TMJ-MTJ complex and full-body posture and movement dysfunction. Since the Vision and Vestibular systems are incased within the cranial bones, dysfunctional TMJ-MTJ mechanics can alter Vestibular and Vision function in the way they assist in movement and posture.


In conclusion, the relationships between headaches, migraines, vision, and TMJ-MTJ function are multifaceted and interconnected. Understanding these connections can provide valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms of these conditions and inform holistic approaches to their management. By addressing factors such as visual triggers, TMJ-MTJ dysfunction, and global muscular tension, individuals should find pain-relief and improved quality of life in their journey of recovery.


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