Have you ever suffered from persistent headaches? Ever had a headache caused by TMJ? Or perhaps you’ve heard the technical term “temporomandibular disorder” aka TMD? Headaches are a common issue with TMJ syndromes.

How Do You Know If It’s A TMJ Headache?

TMJ headaches are usually dull, tight, and aching headaches vs migraines, which are usually throbbing and sharp. TMJ headaches can be on one side or both sides but are usually worse on the side with the TMJ problem.  They often feel like tension headaches. TMJ headaches are made worse with jaw movement and can be helped with jaw relaxation. They are also usually associated with tenderness of the jaw and nearby muscles. Tension in muscles and ligaments, jaw alignment issues, and general imbalance of normal forces in the area are what are thought to cause TMJ headaches.

The Good News

Hope is not lost! There are classical treatments available, like physical therapy, and now there is another way to treat these – dry needling.

Dry needling is a modern treatment aimed at easing muscular-related spasms and pain. Not to be confused with acupuncture, dry needling uses short, very fine, stainless steel needles that do not inject any fluid in the body, hence, they are “dry” needles. The certified healthcare practitioner places needles on trigger points in the muscle and surrounding tissue to stimulate and loosen tightened muscles or knots. The needles stay in the skin for a short while, the duration depends on the technique being used by the dry needling practitioner.

Let’s Talk Results

There are only mild side effects common with dry needling and they include bruising, bleeding, and temporary soreness. Dry needling has been proven to effectively treat muscle issues in the TMJ (1,2) as well as helping to restore normal jaw open (2). Even though a TMJ headache starts with a jaw problem, it can actually cause tension headache-related muscle problems with muscles around the head and neck. The even better news is that dry needling has been proven to help those tension headache muscle issues as well! (3)

Interested in finding out if dry needling can help you? Please call our office at (210) 888-1278 to schedule an initial evaluation with one of our dry needling certified therapists or request an appointment and our team will gladly assist you.

Please note, you no longer need a doctor referral to come in and see a Physical Therapist in Texas. We will even verify your medical insurance benefits in advance to make sure your medical insurance will cover physical therapy visits without a referral. In the event a referral is needed by your insurance, we can help you obtain a referral from your doctor.


Study 1 – Deep dry needling in the trigger point in the external pterygoid muscle can be effective in the management of patients with myofascial pain located in that muscle.


Study 2 – The application of dry needling into active TrPs in the masseter muscle induced significant increases in PPT levels and maximal jaw opening when compared to the sham dry needling in patients with myofascial TMD.


Study 3 – Trigger point dry needling in patients with chronic tension-type headache is effective and safe in reducing headache intensity, frequency and duration, and increasing health-related quality of life.