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Migraines, or a migraine headache, is a moderate to severe pain you feel at the top or side of your head which some people experience upon waking.
Even though you feel that pain in the upper parts of your head, the source may actually be coming from the bottom of your skull. Often, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or the muscles surrounding it are responsible. This is the hinge and the connecting tissue that connect your jawbone to your skull and what allows you to yawn, chew and talk.
When you tighten or clench your teeth, like when you chew gum for an extended period of time, this puts pressure on the jaw muscles. The pain created then travels to other places in the skull, causing headaches or more severely, migraines. While you are sleeping, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth without even knowing it, with the result of experiencing migraines upon waking.
Sometimes you go to bed with a headache, but since most pain medications last between 4 and 8 hours, the pain returns prior to awakening. Some of the causes for waking with a migraine can include:
- Sleep apnea or insomnia
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Caffeine withdrawal
There is a difference between a migraine and a headache. With a migraine you experience:
- A headache lasting more than 4 hours
- Distracting, pulsing or throbbing pain
- Dizziness or flashing lights
Migraines that occur more than 15 times a month are called chronic migraines. If you regularly experience migraines upon waking, keep a record of what is happening, and make an appointment with your doctor or one of the physicians at Airway & Sleep Group. We’ll look into treatment and pain relief options to get you sleeping and waking without pain.