With the holiday season comes the stress of shopping for presents, planning dinner and hosting parties. And while you might be looking forward to enjoying this special season with friends and family, you might also be dreading the yearly headache occurrence. Whether you get Christmas migraines or Hanukkah headaches, these holiday pains might have an underlying cause you are unaware of: temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD or TMD).

Food Triggers

Whether your family enjoys the traditional sugar cookie or broccoli casserole, food plays a big role in holidays for everyone.  However, food can also lead to TMJ related headaches and pain. And, while we love our families, they can often cause us stress, especially if you are hosting the parties. This is because many people carry that stress as tension in the jaw muscles, which can worsen with all of the eating you do over the holiday season.

From crunchy carrots to hard toffee treats, the excessive chewing and imbalancement of your jaw can lead to significantly more exertion than a healthy jaw would experience. As the tension increases, it can pass it on to other muscles including your head and neck, which can cause headaches and/or neck pain.

Pain and Shopping

Yes, your TMD might also be contributing to the headaches you are experiencing while shopping this holiday season. While holiday shopping can be stressful and you might find yourself fighting through large crowds of people, it can lead to tension in your jaw. This is because your jaw plays an important role in the system supporting your head and ensuring balance–it’s an important anchor for your muscles. When you exert yourself, your jaw clamps down to provide stability to ensure maximum muscle efficiency.

If you suffer from TMD, your jaw is not effectively completing its job, which means your other muscles have to work even harder to make up for the difference, or they just don’t work as well. This can lead to fatigue and soreness in your muscles, leading to neck pain and headaches.

Take care of yourself this holiday season and visit us at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on TMD, headaches, migraines and what we can do to help minimize or eliminate pain.