Chronic migraines affect millions of people across the globe, and despite how common this debilitating ailment is, medical researchers are still struggling to understand the mechanisms of how the migraine works.

This gap in medical knowledge has made it difficult for migraine sufferers to have access to accurate diagnoses or, even worse, effective treatments.

Scientists are constantly on the lookout for new findings in relation to migraines that could make migraine diagnosis and treatment easier. One recent study may have uncovered another thread in the complicated spiderweb of migraine headaches: Vitamin D.

woman enjoying the sunshine on her face for a nearby window

Study Links Vitamin D to Chronic Headaches

A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland, published in Scientific Reports, analyzed vitamin D levels and headache severity and frequency in just over 2,500 men. The men in the study were between 42 and 60 years old, and the study tracked their weekly headache occurrence and their serum vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” occurs naturally in some foods, like fish and egg yolks, but is more commonly remembered for the way that our skin produces it in response to sunlight. People who don’t go outside much or live in areas with less sunshine, or people on vegan diets are more likely to have low vitamin D levels.

Finland, where the study was performed, gets little to no sunlight during the winter months, leaving its citizens susceptible to vitamin D deficiency during the winter season. In the University of Eastern Finland’s study, 68% of the participants had vitamin D deficiency. Of the 2,500 participants, around 250 reported chronic (weekly) headaches — and this correlated with those participants’ lower vitamin D levels.

In the end, the study found that the study participants with the lowest Vitamin D levels were more than twice as likely to experience chronic headaches than those with adequate vitamin D levels.

What Causes Chronic Migraine?

This means that scientists can add vitamin D deficiency to the long list of things that have displayed correlation with chronic headaches and migraines: High cholesterol, specific proteins in the brain, spinal cord injuries, and even the food additive tyramine.

There are so many possible causes of migraines that it can be difficult or impossible to pin down the source, which in turn makes treatment a challenge.

Many people who suffer from TMJ experience headaches and migraines as a symptom. This can be an easy sign to miss, because TMJ symptoms can often seem unrelated. From ringing in the ears to tingling fingers to bruxism, it’s all too easy to miss the signs.

If you haven’t been able to pinpoint the source of your migraines, it might be TMJ. Those who suffer from migraines as a result of TMJ may have received migraine treatment in the past that was ineffective. This is because treating the pain fails to address the underlying cause — in this case, the misalignment of the jaw.

A misaligned jaw can create tension all through the head, shoulders, and spine, leading to a variety of painful symptoms. For many people, TMJ will resolve on its own without treatment. But for many people TMJ symptoms will worsen if the condition isn’t treated.

If you think you may have TMJ, call (803) 781-9090 or contact Smile Columbia Dentistry online to schedule an appointment. There are drug-free TMJ treatments that can help reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.