NORWALK - Some experts say the answer to headache and facial pain may be on the tip of your tongue, literally.
Dr. Alan Rissolo, a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Norwalk, says some headaches are part of a disorder called temporomandibular dysfunction, which is caused by hyperactive muscles near the jaw.
"One of the major closers of chewing is the temporalis muscle," Dr. Rissolo says. "When this muscle closes, it flexes and you can actually get soreness behind the eye socket here. Some people think they have pain behind the eye and fan-shaped pain going back to the ear."
Physical therapists say a patient's resting tongue position can contribute to pain and stress in the jaw region.
Many recommend resting the tongue on the roof of the mouth. They say that when the tongue sits lower in the jaw, it can create tension between the muscles on the upper face and lower jaw.
Dr. Rissolo says your teeth may also contribute to jaw pain and headaches.
"If they are not in the proper interdigitation relationship, it can actually add pressure to the joint when you function," he says. "You have to thrust your lower jaw forward a small amount which puts stress on the disc in the joint."
Dr. Rissolo recommends seeing a dentist and a physical therapist to address tight muscles and posture. He also says to try to eliminate stress and to avoid irritants like alcohol and nicotine.