Headache? You may not know that bruxism is one of the most frequent but least known causes

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Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcía

Bruxism is a sleep disorder that is one of the most common causes of headache. Let's find out what it is and how to prevent it

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If you happen to wake up in the morning with an annoying headache, it is likely that you suffer from bruxism. It is one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting both adults and children. In practice, it consists in grinding the teeth involuntarily, rubbing the upper arch against the lower one or squeezing the jaws vigorously. This condition, ignored by many, occurs mostly at night and can cause various problems, including pain in the jaw and wear of the teeth.





Those who live with bruxism often also suffer from muscle-tension headache, which can last quite a while and become quite overwhelming. The most common sensation is that of feeling a "circle in the head": the pain is felt on both sides and sometimes also radiates up to the neck and shoulders. But where does bruxism originate and how to prevent it? Let's try to shed some light.

Read also: You can relieve headaches without drugs thanks to these foods

Index

Cause of bruxism

But what are the causes of this disorder? In reality it is difficult to identify its origin. Several scientific studies have revealed several factors that can cause bruxism. Among these we find anxiety, lo stress, psychological discomforts, sleep disturbances, a misalignment of the dental arches and, in some cases, it can also be a muscular response to neurodegenerative disease. Furthermore, smoking, alcohol and caffeine abuse and drug use can lead to the onset of the phenomenon.

Very often it is especially the little ones who suffer from it. The disturbance, in fact, affects about three in ten children (of school age). But in this case we should not be alarmed because bruxism usually disappears spontaneously with growth, after the loss of milk teeth. 

Diagnosis of bruxism

Those suffering from bruxism are not always aware of it because when you grind your teeth during sleep you are not conscious. But to get a diagnosis, a visit to the dentist may be sufficient, who will inspect the health of the teeth by checking for wear, lesions and the sensitivity of the jaw muscles. If necessary, the dentist may ask the patient for other examinations, such as orthopanoramic radiography (to understand if there are problems in the alignment of the dental arches) and polysomnography (a specialized examination that allows to diagnose sleep disorders of origin respiratory and neurological



Treatment and prevention 

How to solve the problem of bruxism? In most cases the disorder can be gradually eliminated by using a bite, a mouthguard that should be worn at night to avoid rubbing of the teeth. Dental treatment may sometimes be necessary to correct the malocclusion and realign the jaw. For example, you can contact an expert osteopath. Furthermore, in the presence of anxious states, relaxation techniques are effective to combat stress. Psychotherapy can also be very valuable for those who suffer from anxiety.

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Source: GVM Care & Research / Bambino Gesù Hospital

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