Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

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Top Five Reasons for Migraines


Submitted by Koala Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders

Migraines are brutal headaches that affect 39 million children and adults in the United States and 1 billion worldwide. Migraine studies estimate that over 12 percent of U.S. adults suffer from migraines. Migraines and headaches have some distinguishing features. Let’s discuss migraines and their risk factors and explore a few of the most common causes of headaches.

What Is a Migraine?
A migraine is a neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms that can last for an hour, a day, or several days. The primary symptom is extreme pain in a focused area of the head, but there is a myriad of symptoms that people experience, including but not limited to the following:

  • A throbbing or pulsing sensation
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Pain in the ears
  • Vision disruption
  • Neck and shoulder tension
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound

It is important to note that migraines and headaches are not the same. With a headache, the muscles between a person’s head and neck contract, causing tightness or a squeezing sensation around the head. Conversely, a migraine is a very distinct, intense pain, typically a severe throbbing pain with a potentially debilitating condition for the duration of the migraine; migraines are identified mostly with light and sound sensitivity, as well as nausea.

What Causes Migraines?
For some people, migraines are chronic. Chronic migraine is a distinct disease if you are experiencing 8–15 migraine/headache days a month. However, a person can experience a migraine once in a lifetime or occasionally. Their occurrence varies, depending on the person and the risk factors involved. While a headache can turn into a migraine, the root cause of the pain may differ. Here are five of the most common triggers that can initiate a migraine:

  1. Environment
  2. Stress
  3. Physical factors
  4. Food and drink
  5. Sleep patterns / sleep apnea

It is believed that 39 million Americans have disabling, chronic headaches, and the economic costs due to job absenteeism, lost production, and medical expenses are estimated to be as high as $50 billion annually. Approximately 35 million also suffer from TMJ problems known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD), caused by an imbalanced bite. You may encounter broken teeth, fillings, loose teeth, and a toothache with no apparent cause. If you have any of these problems, you should see a dentist right away.

Tension Headaches Linked To TMJ Disorder
Radiating pain in the face, jaw, ears and/or neck can be an indicator of TMJ Disorder. A cracking or grinding sound generally accompanies the motion of jaw use. Stiffness in the temporomandibular joint makes it difficult to open and close your mouth, leading to facial tenderness with pain, along with ear pain and headaches. Jaw-locking and popping can also be a contributing factor.

TMJ Disorder and Dental Treatments
More physicians are realizing the benefits of an integrated care approach for dental treatment of TMJ disorders, due to imperfect dental occlusion. The TMJD oral appliances are gaining credibility within the medical professions due to successfully treated patients. “We have a number of ENTs and neurologists who have referred their patients to us when their symptoms showed signs of TMJD,” comments Dr. Rod Willey, CEO and founder of the Koala Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders®. “Simply normalizing the bite with a custom-fitted oral appliance resembling an athletic mouth guard can help many headache sufferers. These noninvasive orthotic appliances are created to find the true resting position for the jaw, which promotes healing and maintains the new corrected bite.”

Finding the root cause of headaches and migraines can be a daunting task as it was for Jennifer. “I was having headaches 4–5 times a week and constant earaches. I went to my doctor, an ENT, and finally to see Dr. Rod Willey for a TMJ oral appliance at Koala Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders®. They changed my life in less than two months. My headaches disappeared as did my ear pain. The staff is great and really cares about the patients. I can’t imagine not having my mouthpiece now. Highly recommend.” Jennifer shares with us that she is not waking through the night now either, but rather waking up feeling well rested and grateful the years of symptoms are gone.

If you or someone you know deals with headaches, migraines, sleep issues, jaw pain, or ear pain, let us help you get to the root of the problem. We invite you to visit Dr. Rod Willey at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders in North Peoria, IL and see if a TMJD appliance may be right for you. Call for more information at (309) 243-8980 or visit our website at, and you too could be living pain-free!