Have you been suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders for quite a while? If yes, then you may be wondering about the possible TMJ causes. What could be causing your TMJ pain? Why does it hurt a lot? More importantly, how can you ease your pain and find long-term relief?
In this blog post, we’ll focus on understanding the connection between neck pain and TMD. We’ll also tackle how you can get rid of your symptoms so you can live comfortably.
Before we get to the discussion’s main points, let’s investigate more about the temporomandibular joint and the risk factors and signs of TMD.
A Brief Intro to the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
The TMJ joins your lower jaw and the rest of the skull. You can touch it by pressing your finger just under your ear lobes. If you try to open and close your mouth, you can locate the exact point where the bones meet. If you inspect closely, you can see that the TMJ serves as hinges, and they glide sidewards so you can drop and lift your jaw. It allows you to chew your food and move your mouth and tongue when you talk.
Like every joint in the body, your TMJ can also suffer from wear and tear. When this happens, the joints start to swell, causing mild to severe bouts of pain every time you move any part of your face.
What Are the Symptoms of TMD?
TMD or temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder doesn’t pose serious risks. However, it can cause incapacitating pain. It also triggers quite a few symptoms that can severely impact your activities and quality of life. Here are a few examples of the main TMD symptoms:
- Jaw muscle pain and stiffness
- Stabbing or burning jaw pain that radiates to the neck and face
- Jaw locking or limited jaw movement
- Misalignment of your teeth
- Hearing a popping, grating, or clicking sound when you move your jaw
- Facial muscle pain
- Teeth grinding
- Aching ears
- Neck pain
Types of TMJ Disorders
The pain could last for a few days or several weeks, depending on whether you have a cyclic or momentary TMD. Your prognosis also largely depends on the specific type of TMD you have. Here are the main classification of TMJ disorders:
- Myofascial pain – Pain or discomfort when you move your jaws and the rest of your face
- Arthritis – This refers to the degeneration or inflammation of the joints.
- Structural problems of the joint – This type of TMD features jaw dislocation, condyle injury, or disc displacement
Please take note that it’s possible to experience all of these three main categories simultaneously. It’s also possible to experience other health problems alongside your TMD, such as:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Sleeping difficulties
Noticeably, all of these conditions share a few similarities, implying that they may have a deep connection. A fine example of the common symptoms observe among the four disorders is neck pain.
So, what does neck pain have to do with your suffering? Could it be the underlying condition causing your TMJ? Is it a sign of a major structural defect along your neck and spine?
Your Neck Pain and TMD – Is There a Link?
As it turns out, neck pain is a likely candidate in the list of TMJ causes. Patients who previously suffered from neck trauma developed TMJ disorders later in life. Due to the accident or injury, the original position of the upper cervical bones gets messed up.
This results in brainstem irritation and nerve pinching or compression. It also prompts the rest of the spine to adjust accordingly to provide enough support for the head. All these events can contribute to the development of the main TMJ disorder symptoms.
How to Improve Your Condition When You Have TMD
Typically pain tends to fade over time. However, if the underlying cause for such discomfort remains unresolved, the pain can persist for a more extended period. Until you resolve the issue, here are some self-care techniques you can try at home:
- Minimize jaw movements
- Apply cold or hot compress on the painful areas
- Opt for a soft diet to lessen stress on your jaw
- Avoid chewing gum or other similar food products
- Try using gentle and mild stretching exercises for the face and jaw
- Minimize stress by practicing relaxation techniques
Natural and Non-Invasive Remedy for TMJ Causes
If you have been struggling with TMJ disorders for a long time, it’s definitely worth seeking a new remedy such as upper cervical chiropractic care. It’s non-invasive, so it doesn’t require any surgical intervention. Moreover, it’s a gentle and all-natural process that focuses on initiating natural healing.
Essentially, the procedure involves correcting faulty neck bone misalignments that could be causing stress to your entire body. Once you have a neutral spine alignment, your body can begin to heal, allowing your brainstem to function normally. It also helps address other problems caused by the wrong bone position, such as poor fluid drainage and nerve pinching, or compression.
After receiving adjustments, you can see improvements that could make a huge difference in your life. Imagine being able to chew, talk or smile, without worrying about a painful and inflamed TMJ. Wouldn’t that be a significant change that could help you take back what you lost because of TMD?
Get in touch with an upper cervical care doctor near you. With the help of chiropractic adjustments, you can begin to address one of the critical factors that aggravate your TMJ disorders.