Temporomandibular joint disorder, more commonly known as TMJ disorder, affects the jaw joints and muscles. It often leads to jaw dysfunction, causing patients to experience difficulties when talking, chewing, or swallowing food. While this condition primarily affects your jaw and the muscles and tissues around it, it can potentially impact mental health too. Your mental health is equally important as your physical health. It would help if you kept this in mind when pursuing effective TMJ remedies.
Your mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects your cognitive function, behavior, and perception. Additionally, your psychological state helps determine how you handle stressful situations, such as when you have sudden bouts of TMJ pain.
TMJ Disorder and Your Mental Health
TMJ disorder can affect your mental health, but it will differ for every person. Just like any other health condition, psychological factors can manifest differently. Here are two primary mental health problems that can stem from TMJ disorder:
Some TMJ disorder symptoms can trigger anxiety, such as dizziness, tinnitus, and headaches. In addition, a TMJ disorder patient may tend to overly anticipate the discomfort brought by the symptoms accompanying their condition, which can heighten their anxiety levels.
Increased stress brought by chronic pain due to anxiety can lead to depression. TMJ disorder symptoms can highly impact your daily routine and activities, and sudden changes can contribute to stress and depression. It is not uncommon to develop a TMJ-associated mood disorder. Thankfully, you can manage depression better when you find effective TMJ remedies that minimize the intensity of your jaw pain and prevent disruptions from your usual routine.
Psychological Factors That Contribute to TMJ
A study has concluded that patients with TMJ disorder got higher scores on all personality characteristics, excluding aberrant experiences, including hallucinations, perceptual distortions, and delusions. The study also notes that patients with temporomandibular joint disorder have higher mean state and trait anxiety levels than those who don’t suffer from TMJ disorder. The most frequently found anxiety levels in these patients are calm state and trait anxiety.
Apart from TMJ disorder affecting your mental health, it is also believed that your mental health is a significant contributing factor to the development of TMJ disorder. So what are these psychological factors? Let’s take a closer look at them below:
Experts continue to study the relationship between an individual’s personality type and the development of TMJ disorder. Studies reveal that some personality types are more susceptible to developing a TMJ disorder. For example, those described as type D or those with a more neurotic personality type have a higher probability of experiencing TMJ disorder.
An increased stress level is a contributing factor to TMJ disorder. There is a high tendency for jaw clenching and teeth grinding during the daytime and while sleeping when you feel stressed. This bad habit can lead to teeth damage and temporomandibular joint disorder.
Psychological distress can lead to prolonged feelings of pain and discomfort. TMJ-related pain may also be a physical symptom of depression and lead to more health-related issues if left untreated. When a person’s mental health conditions are left unattended, it can increase jaw muscle activity and cause further TMJ inflammation and pain.
When you experience stress, your muscles tighten up and may hurt, including those in your temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Over time, your muscles continue to be overworked, which causes pain and stiffness. Likewise, if you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, it impacts your daily routine activities and may induce stress.
Just like depression, TMJ disorder can be a physical symptom of anxiety. Apart from this condition being triggered by anxiety, it can also cause a TMJ disorder.
This is when a person assumes that the worst will happen, and often it involves believing that you are always in a worse situation than you are or exaggerating the difficulties you face. This can reflect how you perceive pain rooting or close to your temporomandibular joint.
Managing Psychological Factors To Lessen TMJ Discomfort
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can support other well-established TMJ remedies such as pain medications and upper cervical care. CBT can also help you address TMJ disorder related to psychological factors. Patient success stories illustrate this method leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In addition, some psychological cases proved to benefit more from CBT than other forms of therapy or psychiatric medications.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Provides TMJ Remedies
Besides its strong link to mental health, TMJ disorder also shares a connection with upper cervical misalignments. As a result, upper cervical care has become one of the go-to TMJ remedies for many patients.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic is a unique technique in the chiropractic field which provides renewed hope to TMJ patients and other conditions. This niche practice in chiropractic focuses on the upper cervical part of the spine located in the neck, and its primary goal is to identify and correct its misalignment. These misalignments have contributed to different health conditions, including TMJ disorder.
Only licensed upper cervical chiropractors can perform this technique to make sure you maximize its benefits and do not put yourself at a higher risk for injury. If you think you will benefit from upper cervical chiropractic, there is a high chance you will find a doctor near you.
Help your temporomandibular joint heal with the help of neck adjustments. Slowly but surely, your neck bones can return to their original alignment, and you can see improvements in your TMJ pain and other symptoms. Locate the nearest TMJ chiropractor in your city today!