Not many people pay attention to their jaw when it plays a role in various body functions such as speaking, yawning, and chewing. Unfortunately, for some folks, their jaws don’t work the same as everyone.
Due to neck trauma, repeated joint and muscle strain, and other factors, the temporomandibular joint or TMJ could get damaged, causing pain and difficulty moving the jaws. In the short discussion below, we’ll explore TMJ and TMD. We’ll focus on the differences between the two terms then explore how your options for TMJ pain relief.
TMJ and TMD – Is there a Difference?
You may be wondering, what is the difference between TMD and TMJ? We noticed that patients often use TMJ and TMD interchangeably. However, we’d like to emphasize that TMJ refers to the joint, specifically the temporomandibular joint. Essentially, you have two TMJs connecting your jawbone to the rest of your head.
TMD or TMJD, on one hand, refers to the disorders of the TMJ. If you develop TMD, you may experience any of the symptoms below:
- Jaw pain
- Painful face muscles
- Hearing a clicking sound when you move your jaw
- Locking of the jawbone
- Sensitive teeth
- Neck pain
- Teeth grinding or bruxism
How to Manage Pain Caused by TMJ Disorder
Patients seeking TMJ pain relief often need help because they struggle doing simple things that involve the jaw, such as eating, speaking, and yawning. Fortunately, it’s not a severe or life-threatening health condition. With proper management of the disorder, you can minimize your pain and symptoms. Below are some care strategies you can try to follow:
Patients with TMD often use anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medication as their first option in managing their condition. You can find OTC pain relievers to cope. If these don’t help, you request your doctor to prescribe muscle relaxants.
Avoiding hard-to-chew products
Adding more stress to your swollen and painful jaw would bring you more discomfort. Hence, it’s good practice to avoid chewing on hard food products. Opt for easy to chew items instead, and make sure to pick ones packed with vitamins and minerals
May TMD patients use a mouth guard or oral splint made by their dental doctor. Wearing such specialized devices can prevent wear and tear of the TMJ, most especially if you have bruxism or teeth grinding. Heat or cold compress may also help. Lastly, you can look for other forms of therapy that can help you avoid clenching your jaws.
Opting for invasive procedures
If you don’t see results from the natural remedies you try, you can look into other invasive management options. One option is using steroid injections to enjoy pain relief temporarily. You can also check out more procedures such as arthroscopic surgery and needles on the affected areas.
TMJD Care — Steps to a Pain-Free TMJ
We recommend looking at natural remedies before committing to a more invasive form of pain relief option or long-term use of prescription drugs. Here are other TMJ pain relief remedies you can try:
Goodbye, poor phone habits
Are you guilty of holding your phone between your ears and shoulder when you accept a call? This can potentially trigger TMD. We recommend investing in a good quality earpiece or speakerphone.
- Give your jaw a break
If you’re diagnosed with TMJD, it’s best to expose it to fewer stressors such as hard food. This can cause you more pain.
- Gentle jaw massage or stretches
Soft massage and gentle stretching jaw exercises could provide you with relief. It helps ease tension on the TMJ and its neighboring muscles.
- No stress, less grinding of teeth
Teeth grinding at night can be a huge problem for people with TMD. It can aggravate the condition and worsen the pain. It would help if you practiced relaxation techniques to avoid bruxism.
- Proper body posture
Not everyone finds it easy to maintain a good posture. If you have TMJ disorders, we highly recommend minding your posture. It can significantly make a difference in your condition. As much as possible, you should avoid slouching, both when you stand or sit down.
- Have your neck assessed for misalignments
If you’re like most TMD patients, you may also be experiencing neck pain. That’s because your neck bones connect with the rest of your head. If your neck bone alignment is a bit off, your neck might have problems in balancing the head. Eventually, this affects your jaw and the TMJs.
Upper Cervical Care — A Good TMJ Pain Relief Option
If you have been dealing with TMD for a while, finding an effective TMJ pain relief option can make a lot of difference in your life. Upper cervical chiropractic care is one of the leading pain relief options sought by patients all over the country.
This natural remedy’s primary goals are to help you minimize the pain and start your recovery journey. A neck chiropractor focuses on the neck bones, which could be causing or aggravating your pain. The jaw, TMJs, and neck’s proximal position is enough evidence of their strong link. Nerves and their biomechanical function also connect these three parts of your body. You might also notice the frequent occurrence of neck pain when you experience TMJ pain.
Upper cervical chiropractic care offers promising results to patients. Many patients have experienced vast improvements after receiving neck bone adjustments.
If you want to try a new TMJ pain relief option that’s natural and evidence-based, upper cervical chiropractic is a good choice.
Find a nearby upper cervical care doctor today and book a consultation!