Chewing gum – is it the source of your head pain?

Could there be a simple fix to your child’s migraines or tension-type headaches? Although there is no known cure for migraine, researchers associated with Tel Aviv University recently found that teenagers who stopped chewing gum also saw a dramatic reduction in headaches. Findings published in Pediatric Neurology by Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Meir Medical Center suggest that chewing gum could be the source of many teens’ headaches.

26 out of 30 patients reported signifiant improvement in symptoms and 19 patients reported complete resolution of their headaches. 20 of the patients who experienced improvement tried chewing gum again, and all of them saw an immediate relapse of symptoms.

There are several theories to why chewing gum may be linked to an increase in headaches. One common theory is based on the the use of aspartame in chewing gum. This artificial sweetener is also a potential migraine trigger, A second theory, which Dr. Watemberg supports, is that chewing gum stresses the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, the place where the jaw meets the skull. TMJ dysfunction is often associated with headaches, including tension-type headaches which can trigger migraines.

What do you think? Did chewing gum – or not chewing it – make a difference in your symptoms?

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