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Hyperreactive Brain Network May Be Cause of Chronic Pain in Fibromyalgia, Study Suggests

Fibromyalgia is one of the overlapping pain conditions with TMD. This article appeared in Fibromyalgia News Today on January 15, 2018. A new study suggests a hyperreactive brain network may be the underlying cause of chronic pain in fibromyalgia.

Dry Eye Linked to Chronic Overlapping Pain in Veteran Population

There may be a correlation between dry eye and chronic pain in the US military veteran population as is evident by a recent study. Ocular pain was most strongly associated with headaches, tension headaches, migraines, temporomandibular joint disorders, pelvic pain, central pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia in the veteran patient population.

Patients in Los Angeles or New York City Needed for Clinical Study - Comparative Study of Women Considering or Currently Receiving Botox© Injections for TMJ Pain

Are you a woman with "TMJ" pain in facial muscles, who has either: a. recently had Botox© injections for your pain or b. not had Botox© for your pain but has thought about such treatment? If either is true for you, you may qualify for an observational research study centrally administered by the NYU College of Dentistry. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of this study is to understand potential health risks that may be caused by treating "TMJ pain" with Botox© injections.

Why Head and Face Pain Cause More Suffering

Hate headaches? The distress you feel is not all in your -- well, head. People consistently rate pain of the head, face, eyeballs, ears and teeth as more disruptive, and more emotionally draining, than pain elsewhere in the body.

Migraine and Coronary Artery Disease: A Genetic Connection

There has long been as association between migraine headaches and vascular (blood vessel) dysfunction of some kind, underscored by epidemiological studies and other research. New evidence for a genetic connection now comes from the analysis of several large data sets of each condition based on Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).


  • Dec 21, 2017

To aid health care providers, the The American Association for Dental Research recommends that a diagnosis of TMD or related orofacial pain conditions should be based primarily on information obtained from the patient’s history and a clinical examination of the head and neck. They may note, for example, whether patients experience pain when mild pressure is applied to the joint itself or to the chewing muscles. The patient’s medical history should not be restricted to the dentition (the teeth and their arrangement) or to the head and neck, but instead should be a complete medical record, which may reveal that the patient is also experiencing one or more of the comorbid conditions found to occur frequently in TMD patients. Blood tests are sometimes recommended to rule out possible medical conditions as a cause of the problem. Before undergoing any costly diagnostic test, it is always wise to get an independent opinion from another health care provider of your choice (one who is not associated with your current provider).

In addition to a detailed history and careful clinical examination, imaging studies of the teeth and jaws may sometimes be helpful as a diagnostic tool. These include:

  • Routine Dental X-rays and Panoramic Radiographs. These show the teeth and provide a screening view of the bony structures of the TM joint.
  • Computed Tomography (CT or CAT scan). This provides greater detail of the bone but a somewhat limited view of the disc and soft tissues. It is indicated when a screening radiograph of the TM joint shows some bony changes. More info on CT scans by FDA.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This provides images of the disc as well as the muscles and other soft tissues surrounding the joint.
  • Scintigraphy (Bone scan). This involves the injection of a radioactive substance that is absorbed by the bone cells and shows whether a pathologic process is in an active or inactive state.

As a patient, you should discuss your concerns with your primary care physician or internist to help rule out any other conditions which could be causing  symptoms as well as to help get your pain under control.

Articles of Interest

Conditions Which May Produce Similar Signs and Symptoms as TMJ Disorders

Conditions that may produce similar signs and symptoms as TMJ disorders (pain and/or jaw dysfunction) and can lead to misdiagnosis include:

  • Atypical (vascular) neuralgia.

  • Hypo- and hyperkinesia (abnormal jaw movements).

  • Lyme disease.

  • Myositis (muscle inflammation).

  • Myositis ossificans (calcification in a muscle).

  • Otitis (earache).

  • Parotitis (salivary gland inflammation).

  • Scleroderma (chronic hardening of the skin).

  • Sinusitis.

  • Temporal arteritis (inflammation of the temporal artery).

  • Toothache.

  • Trigeminal neuralgia.

  • Trotter's syndrome (nasopharyngeal carcinoma).

In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Office of Research on Women's Health