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Throbbing pain in the temples, especially on just one side of your head, is a common symptom of migraine pain. But when throbbing turns into a constant headache, and it is accompanied by pain when you touch your temples, it may be a sign of temporary arthritis.
Pain In The Temples And Behind Eyes
Temporal arteritis is a condition caused by inflammation of one or more large arteries. It typically strikes either or both large temporal arteries located on the side of the head. Also known as cranial or giant-cell arthritis, this painful condition is more common in women than men and almost always occurs in people age 50 or older.
Easy Ways To Relieve Temple Pain: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
People with temporal arteritis describe the pain as severe, throbbing and burning – most often in the temple on one side of the head. Other symptoms, such as a low-grade fever, fatigue, loss of weight or appetite, or a tender scalp or temple may also occur. Chewing can cause pain in the jaw muscles.
Doctors don’t know what triggers the problem, but it involves a misguided immune response that causes inflammation of artery walls. The resulting swelling can progressively narrow the affected vessels, reducing blood flow. In severe cases, arteries become totally blocked. If this happens in the artery supplying the retina, it threatens the vision in the eye. If an artery serving the brain is impaired, a stroke may result. However, when caught and treated early, temporal arteritis responds well to medication.
A doctor who suspects temporary arthritis will check your blood’s erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP). A high level of one or both suggests that there is inflammation in your body. In some centers, ultrasound of the temporal arteries can confirm the diagnosis. But the most reliable way to diagnose this condition is to remove part of the blood vessel and examine it under a microscope for changes in the artery wall.
Confirming temporal arteritis is critical because the condition requires long-term treatment with drugs to reduce inflammation. Therapy with high-dose corticosteroids should begin as soon as possible. Your doctor will often start corticosteroid therapy as a precaution before having an ultrasound or taking the blood vessel biopsy.
What Causes Scalp Tenderness?
You will probably need to take prednisone or another corticosteroid at a high dose until the symptoms have disappeared and the results of further laboratory tests are close to normal. This usually takes at least a month. The dosage is then gradually decreased. Your doctor may suggest adding another anti-inflammatory drug, such as tocilizumab, to help reduce the dose of prednisone more quickly.
Temporal arthritis is not the only condition that can cause constant headaches. The pain of migraine headaches can be similar, since they often start (and sometimes stay) on one side of the head, with pain stretching from the front to the back of the head.
How would you know if the constant headache is a migraine or temporal arteritis? Migraines make people sensitive to light and sound, can cause nausea and vomiting, and can last for hours or even days. But do not try to diagnose and treat yourself.
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Maneuvers For Treating Headaches
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Headache Relief: The Best Pressure Points For Headaches
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Get helpful tips and guidance on everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss… from exercises to build a stronger heart to advice on treating cataracts. Plus, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. The term TMJ is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to disorders of the temporomandibular joints. In fact, TMJ refers only to the temporomandibular (jaw) joints. The term TMD describes disorders of the jaw joints and the muscles that control the joints.
In a temporomandibular disorder, one or both of the temporomandibular joints may be affected, because the condition causes problems using the jaw and/or pain in the area of the joint and the associated muscles. These disorders can affect a sufferer’s ability to chew, swallow, speak, make facial expressions and sometimes even to breathe.
TMDs often cause pain that may present as a migraine or sinus headache, an earache and/or stiffness of the neck or shoulders. In fact, this pain involves the muscles of the head, face and neck, as well as the jaw joints. The joints, located on each side of the head in front of the ears, connect the jaw to the skull. Displacement of the joints can cause mild discomfort to severe pain. Fortunately, we can treat these conditions and their associated pain and discomfort!
Headache Locations And What They Mean
When a TMD occurs, the primary problem may reside in the muscles of the face and jaw, in the joints themselves, or a combination of them. Because the symptoms are similar to those associated with other conditions, patients often seek pain relief from various medical specialists, and may not seek out a dentist who is specifically trained in the treatment of TMDs.
The best way to observe the action of the jaw joint is by placing your fingers on your jaw joints in front of your ears on the sides of your face. Carefully open and close your mouth, and you will be able to feel the movement. It should feel smooth, without clicking or popping when opening, closing, or moving the jaw from side to side. If you suspect displacement, please call our office for an appointment.
Although TMDs are commonly recognized as disorders that affect adults, they sometimes occur in children as young as 3 or 4. Children may experience symptoms milder than those of adults. However, young children affected with TMDs may have persistent jaw pain, headaches, or difficulty opening their jaws, chewing, swallowing, or speaking normally. They may not know any difference, and may believe that pain and/or difficulty with function are what everyone experiences. If their conditions are not diagnosed and left untreated, the symptoms will worsen as they age. However, because affected children are still in their developmental stage, the problem can be corrected. The earlier affected children receive diagnosis and treatment, the better the results!
Once we make a diagnosis, our treatment goal is always to avoid surgery and instead provide non-invasive therapeutic rehabilitation. This is true for children and adults. Treatment options depend on an individual patient’s condition, needs and desired results. The options most commonly include non-invasive pain relief measures such as photo biomodulation (PBM) therapy, prolotherapy or prolozone injections, and/or laser therapy; and our prescribing customized, positioned orthotic appliances (not splints) to be worn in the mouth during the day and/or night for a short term (such as a few months). Some treatment plans involve physical medicine treatments to enhance the healing process and provide pain relief during rehabilitation.
Post Concussion Headaches: Causes & Treatment Options
Since TMDs are often chronic and degenerative disorders, the pain and dysfunction associated with these conditions usually worsens over time. The severity of symptoms commonly increases, and any necessary treatment will become more complicated. For this reason, we believe that all patients experiencing head, neck, or facial pain (alone or in combination) should seek a comprehensive TMJ evaluation. Please call us and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you!
For related information, please check out our article on teeth grinding and read more about the disorder from the Mayo Clinic.
Medical Disclaimer: The content of this website, including all text, graphics, images and other material, is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We recommend that you seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it as a result of anything you read on this website. Different types of headaches can cause different symptoms
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