Chronic migraine magnified by Temporomandibular disorder: Study

Patients with chronic migraine are more likely to suffer from severe Temporomandibular disorder, a condition that intensifies the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

Rachel Lowe, 50, talks to Dr Coley King as part of a street medicine program in Venice
Picture for representation Reuters

Patients with chronic migraine have more probability to suffer from the temporomandibular disorder(TMD), which leads to more frequent migraine attacks and increase the sensitivity to pain, said a study by the University of Sao Paulo's Ribeirao Preto School of School ( FMRP-USP) in Brazil.

In the study, researchers found that patients with chronic migraines which usually occur for more than 15 days a month are likely to experience three times more severe symptoms of Temporomandibular disorder than patients with an episodic migraine.

While the previous studies show that migraine was associated with pain-related to chewing muscles, the current study throws light on initial examination of the frequency of migraine attacks after analyzing its connection with TMD.

During the study, 84 women in their mid-thirties were assessed and 21 of them suffered from chronic migraine, 32 had episodic migraine and 32 had no migraine problems. The results were published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

The temporomandibular joint is the sliding hinge which connects jaw bone to the skull and the disorder's symptoms include difficulty in chewing and joint tension.

The researchers explained that signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorder were observed in 54% of the control participants with no history of migraine, 80% of those with episodic migraine and 100% of the participants with chronic migraine.

"Migraine patients are more likely to have signs and symptoms of TMD, but the reverse is not true. There are cases of patients with severe TMD who don't present with migraine," said Dedora Grossi, lead author of the study and principal investigator for the project.

The TMD may increase the frequency and severity of migraine attacks though it does not directly cause migraine, said researchers."Our findings show the association with TMD exists but is less frequent in patients with rare or episodic migraine," said Grossi.

"This information alone should change the way clinicians examine patients with migraine. If migraine sufferers tend to have more severe TMD, then health professionals should assess such patients specifically in terms of possible signs and symptoms of TMD ", she explained.

A migraine is a neurological disease which gets triggered with genetic and environmental factors, whereas temporomandibular disorder includes series of factors that magnify the sensitivity of migraine attacks. Suffering from the TMD on top of migraine may worsen the migraine attacks in terms of both severity and frequency, shows the study.