Dealing with jaw pain might not seem like a serious problem. However, if you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorders, you know that this isn’t the case. When you have TMJ disorders (TMJD), even smiling or laughing can become your pain source.
Chewing and yawning can also trigger the symptoms of TMJ disorders. Sadly, there isn’t a standard treatment method used for TMJD. This is mostly because the main causes of such a condition remain quite uncertain. As of the moment, patients stick to using TMJ remedies to relieve the common TMJD symptoms. We’ll learn more about these options as we further discuss TMJ pain in the guide below.
What are the likely causes of TMJ Disorders?
Basically, the TMJ or temporomandibular joint is the connective tissue that attaches the lower jawbone to the rest of your skull. It’s a highly versatile joint that provides an extensive range of movement for your jaw. This helps you to do complex things with your mouth, such as chewing and enunciating words.
TMJ disorders tend to vary a lot from one patient to another. You might experience any or all three of the main categories of TMJD:
- Myofascial pain – This causes difficulty in moving your jaw muscles. This type of TMJD can also result in bruxism or teeth grinding at night and teeth clenching during the day.
- Degenerative Joint Disorder – Aging or overuse of your joints can cause inflammation or degeneration. Other factors that may cause this type of TMJD are rheumatoid arthritis, perforated TMJ disc, and osteoarthritis.
- Joint derangement – A dislocated TMJ disc, injured condyle, or dislocated jaw can cause this specific type of TMJD. It’s a progressive structural problem that tends to develop over the years.
How do you know if you have TMJD
Statistics reveal that 1 out of 12 Americans, or around 35 million suffer from TMJ pain. Arguably though, the number might be a lot higher because many cases remain unaccounted for. If you have any of the signs listed below, you need to get diagnosed by your primary healthcare provider:
- The upper and lower teeth don’t seem to align
- You have limited jaw movement and frequently suffer from jaw locking
- You hear a popping, clicking, or grating sound when you try to move your mouth
- You experience teeth clenching or grinding
- Painful facial muscles, especially those found near your temples and the jawbone
Aside from the main symptoms above, you might also experience the following:
- Hearing ringing or buzzing sound inside the ears (Tinnitus)
- Neck pain
- Migraines or headaches
What are the TMJ remedies?
Once you verify that you indeed have TMJ disorders, you can start seeking TMJ remedies to use. This way, you can begin improving your condition. Some of the common options used to manage jaw pain are as follows:
- Cold or hot compress – Cold compress can help you manage inflammation, while heat helps boost your body’s ability to heal on its own by increasing blood flow in the affected area.
- Anti-inflammatory medications – Too much inflammation causes pain. By reducing inflammation in the affected part of your jaw, you can feel a bit more comfortable.
- Muscle relaxants – Muscle relaxants help your brain perceive pain differently. They come in handy in reducing the intensity and frequency of muscle spasms.
- Doing gentle jaw exercises – It’s quite unclear how jaw exercises can help with TMJ pain, but you should still consider doing them. A few examples of jaw exercises that may provide you with TMJ pain relief includes chin tucks and goldfish exercise.
- Opting to eat soft meals – If chewing causes you a lot of pain, it may help if you follow a soft diet. Some examples of food items you can include in your diet include tofu, quiche, oatmeal, pasta, smoothies, and gelatin.
- Using mouth guards or stabilization splint – A bite guard or stabilization splint helps you prevent bruxism or teeth clenching. This way, your jaws don’t suffer from additional stress.
Lasting relief from TMJ Pain with Upper Cervical Care
Until today, there isn’t a definitive method to treat the root cause of TMJ disorders. That’s why most patients only stick to using the remedies listed above. However, recent studies reveal that there may be a sustainable way to manage and relieve TMJ pain for a long period.
According to the findings, there is a strong relationship between spinal alignment and TMJ pain. Even the slightest translation or shifting of your spine alignment can trigger the onset of TMJ pain. Most patients who got diagnosed with TMJ disorder turned out to have a misaligned spine. The majority of them also have a history of neck trauma.
If you previously got into an accident, going to an upper cervical care clinic might provide you with much-needed relief. By receiving upper cervical adjustments, your neck bones can return to their former position. Consequently, you can begin your healing journey as the pressure on the compressed or irritated TMJ nerve gradually eases.
Many TMJ patients have seen results after going to a neck chiropractor. Once you have your spinal alignment assessed, an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner can provide you with customized adjustments. This ensures that your adjustment holds, and you can experience lasting relief from your pain.
If you’re keen on trying an all-natural remedy to ease your jaw pain, you can contact an upper cervical doctor near you. Find one today and book a consultation session to learn more about the uses of neck adjustments.