Pain in the Face & Headaches
Pain in the Face and Headaches...
Okay, back to the face...
The muscles that close the teeth together are actually muscles that bring the lower jaw (which moves) against the upper jaw (which is part of the skull.) These muscles are very powerful and most of them can be found anchored to the surface of the skull, so they are considered "facial muscles" and when they hurt, they cause "facial pain" if it occurs below the cheekbones and "headaches" if it occurs above.
Please take a moment to look at the diagram on the right.
If you trace the outline of the Temporalis muscle it pretty much covers the entire side of the head and attaches to the lower jaw as it dives underneath the cheek bone. The Masseter muscle attaches to the cheekbone itself and also to the angle of the lower jaw.
These two powerful muscles are responsible for closing the jaw and bringing the teeth together. There is one more muscle on the inside but it rarely causes symptoms in the head.
In normal function, when these muscles contract they rotate the lower jaw at the "hinge" formed by the TMJ, thus driving the lower teeth upward against the upper teeth.
Now try to imagine these muscles in a person who is clenching their teeth together all the time.
In such a person, every place that these muscles attach to the bone will be sore as the muscles are constantly being pulling against their ligaments that attach them to the bone. The body of the muscles themselves will also be sore and achy.
When you look at the diagram, is it any wonder that a person who clenches will complain of frequent pain on the side of the head, in the temple areas, under the eyes along the cheekbones and on the side of the jaws.
If you "Google" the word "headache" and then select "images," you will see hundreds of images, some of which I have displayed below. Take a good look at all these pictures and see where the people are rubbing and holding their faces. Now you know why, because their muscles are sore and in spasm. There is no other reason for these areas of the face to be in pain.
Unfortunately, many a person who suffers from constant head pain has been misdiagnosed with migraines or "cluster headaches" where, in reality, their pain is caused by muscle spasms - the muscles of clenching.
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