Someone with TMJ disorder may seem to have only mild or simple jaw pain. However, TMJ disorders are not something you can just shake off as it can potentially hinder you from doing your other daily routines. If you suffer from jaw pain, how can you enjoy eating your favorite meal? How will you engage in profound conversations with your colleagues? The answer is, you will have a hard time doing these activities if your jaw is having a problem. Let’s dig deeper into the nature of this condition.
Here we have a list of ten essential facts that you must know about TMJ disorders.
Fact #1: TMJ Is Your Body Part, Not The Condition
It is a mistake that so many people have. In most cases, they would refer to TMJ as the disorder itself. The fact is, every person has a TMJ or a temporomandibular joint. It is the joint that connects the skull to the mandible. The proper way of referring to the condition is to say TMJ disorder, TMD, or TMJ dysfunction.
Fact #2: Bruxism Can Give You TMJ Pain
Generally, when people are stressed, they would exhibit teeth grinding, or the condition known as bruxism. It is a disorder that can cause jaw pain. Bruxism can also affect the teeth by wearing them away, which can cause tooth loss. If this is the primary cause of your TMJ pain, the best solution would be to practice stress relief techniques and start using a mouth guard as you sleep.
Fact #3: TMD Pain Can Spread To Other Parts Of Your Body
Because our muscles and bones are connected, those with TMJ disorders would feel pain in other areas other than their jaws. TMD’s problems and pain can extend to nearby places like the ears, neck, face, and sometimes even trigger migraines. For some people, their pain reaches down to their shoulders and upper back.
Fact #4: Neck Injuries Can Cause TMJ Disorder
Various problems can cause TMJ disorders. The most frequent causes would include:
- Sporting accidents
- Car accidents
- Neck trauma or injury
- Head trauma or injury
- Slipping, sliding, tripping, and falling incidents
Even if the accident did not hit your jaw directly, injuries to your neck or head would also cause TMJ problems. It would explain why TMJ pain can extend to other parts of the body, such as the neck, face, head, and shoulders, as mentioned in fact #3.
Fact #5: Stress Can Worsen Your TMJ Dysfunction
Even for people without bruxism, most of those under stress tend to clench and frequently unclench their jaws. Thus, it can wear out the temporomandibular joint. Those who suffer from TMJ problems can significantly benefit from doing meditation, yoga, and other stress-relief methods.
Fact #6: A TMJ Disorder Can Affect Your Jaw’s Range Of Motion
Aside from TMD’s pain, it can also prevent individuals from using their jaws in its full range of motion. If the jaw’s specific movements become restricted, it can seriously affect your ability to chew your food or even make conversations properly. For some people, yawning becomes painful or extremely hard to do.
Fact #7: TMD Can Trigger Sleep Problems
Bruxism is just one of the few sleep issues that TMD can cause. People with TMJ problems are more susceptible to getting obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It could be possible that problems with the jaw can lead to OSA, or those with OSA are more prone to suffer from TMD.
Therefore, TMD causing sleep problems can also trigger headaches or migraines, and these are widespread complaints among many TMD patients.
Fact #8: A Soft Diet Helps Relieve Some Cases Of TMD
TMD is not often a chronic condition. Sometimes, a tired jaw may be the cause of it. If this is the case, then it can get fixed quickly. Eat soft types of food for a few days to alleviate the exertion of your jaw. If this method does not work, then there might be a different root cause of this problem.
Fact #9: TMD Might Stem From Neck Problems
As mentioned earlier, TMJ disorders appear due to trauma or injury in the neck or head. One of the most prominent symptoms would include neck pain. If this is the case, then your neck may be the source of that pain. The atlas (C1) vertebra is near the TMJ, ears, facial nerves, and the neck.
The misalignment of this atlas vertebra can cause much pain in the shoulders and upper back. Therefore, it would not be so hard to see that any misalignment of the upper neck’s top bones can cause many common symptoms of TMJ disorders.
Fact #10 Natural TMD Relief Is Obtainable
Various home remedies are easily accessible today. Most can bring you TMJ pain relief. It would include eating softer types of food for a few days, not using your jaw often temporarily, massaging your jaw and facial muscles, and using an ice pack on the affected area to minimize the inflammation. These can help you deal with the pain quickly and temporarily.
Did you know that there is a long-lasting solution to TMD pain? Let us introduce you to upper cervical chiropractic care. It is a chiropractic care category that aims to keep the top two spinal bones, the atlas (C2) and the axis (C2) vertebrae, adequately aligned. Numerous TMD patients find long-term relief from their TMD pain. This form of healthcare showed a lot of promise and success over the years.
Upper cervical chiropractors will check if your spine has any misalignments. We use precise measurements identified through state-of-the-art machines and diagnostic imaging. Once the misalignment gets corrected, you will see significant results, reducing your TMD symptoms and lasting pain relief.
If you want to learn more about upper cervical chiropractic, please take the first steps towards being pain-free from TMD.