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Is Your Headache Due to School Pressure or Something Else?

School puts pressure on everyone: the parents, the teachers and most especially the students. If you or your child has been having headaches, you could probably chalk it up to the stress that school brings. But if the headache is persistent, intense or has lasted for more than a few weeks, its cause could be something else entirely, and it would be worth it to investigate.

People tend to disregard headaches. Most do not try to check their cause and just brush it off as something inconsequential. But headaches are part of our body’s alarm system that let’s us know when something is wrong. Headaches may be classified into two broad categories: No. 1 or primary headaches and No. 2 or secondary headaches. Primary headaches are normally triggered by stress or tension, something that may be caused by social interactions. Sometimes, if we are under so much mental or psychological stress, a headache is our body’s way of telling us that we need to rest. A nap or some time off can do wonders. Other times, a constant and/or prolonged, painful headache can be a symptom of a physical problem and medical intervention becomes necessary. These are categorized as secondary headaches, which may be symptoms of a related disorder or injury. Whether the cause is psychological or physical, finding out the root cause of a headache is a good way to ensure that we can maintain optimum health.

Sometimes, people do not realize that the headache they are experiencing is actually a sign of serious problems like TMJ disorder, dental abscess, post-dental extraction infections, gum disease or sinus pressure. Of these, the most common problem is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or temporomandibular disorder (TMD), as this condition is more properly called. This is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull’s temporal bone that is found directly in front of the ear on each side of your head. These flexible joints and the surrounding muscles allow movement of the jaw and enable you to talk, chew and yawn. Any injury, damage or dislocation to the temporomandibular joint can cause chronic pain and recurrent headaches when chewing, talking or opening the jaw. Muscle and nerve inflammation, headaches and earaches may be the result of a TMJ disorder and may pose some serious health problems. Seeking help from experts  early on can save you a multitude of problems down the line.

Here are some common symptoms that can help you identify if you have TMJ and need to consult a dental professional:

  • Popping, clicking or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (may or may not be accompanied by pain)
  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint area, face, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide.
  • Locked jaw
  • Any swelling on the side or a tired feeling in the face.
  • Difficulty chewing as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly

Oral care is an essential part of a healthy and happy lifestyle. Parents and students may think that headaches are just common and may go away quickly. However, constant headaches can be a nuisance and may cause academic decline on the student’s grades. It is important that they maintain proper oral hygiene and visit their dentists regularly.