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People who suffer from chronic migraine headaches are three times more likely to suffer from severe jawbone disorder, a study has found.
Researchers from University of Sao Paulo in Brazil found that the more frequent the migraine attacks, the more severe will be the temporomandibular disorder (TMD) affecting the jaw joint.
TMD may increase the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, even though it does not directly cause migraine, researchers said.
"Migraine is a neurological disease with multifactorial causes, whereas TMD, like cervicalgia - neck pain - and other musculoskeletal disorders, is a series of factors that intensify the sensitivity of migraine sufferers," said Lidiane Florencio, researcher at the University of Sao Paulo.
"Having TMD may worsen one's migraine attacks in terms of both severity and frequency," said Florencio.
Previous studies indicated that migraine is somehow associated with pain in the chewing muscles.
The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge connecting the jawbone to the skull, therefore the disorder's symptoms includes difficulty chewing and joint tension, researchers said.
TMD can be considered a potential perpetuating factor for migraine because it acts as a constant nociceptive input that contributes to maintaining central sensitisation and abnormal pain processes, they said.
"The repetition of migraine attacks may increase sensitivity to pain," Florencio said.
Researchers assessed 84 women in their early to mid- thirties, 21 were chronic migraine patients, 32 had episodic migraine, while 32 with no history of migraine were included as controls.
Signs and symptoms of TMD were observed in 54 per cent of the control participants without migraine, 80 per cent of participants with episodic migraine, and 100 per cent of those with chronic migraine.
The study was published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.