I have suffered from intensely painful, chronic tension headaches since shortly after I was diagnosed with RA 25 years ago. The jaw pain began approximately 15 years ago, I think. Lately, my jaw, head, and neck pain has been flaring up a lot, and I’m pretty sure that it’s from clenching and grinding my teeth due to several stressful things going on in my life now.
Looking back, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my tension headaches began not long after I got RA. Living with chronic pain is very stressful, and I think my body tensing and tightening into knots is an unconscious reaction to dealing with pain. My head and muscle pain can become excruciating, and escalate to a point where nothing I can do can help it. I’ve gone to physical therapy several times over the years for my headaches, and I think it’s probably time to go again.