Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain rarely occurs on a chronic basis without other symptoms. Today, we will consider some of the indicators that commonly occur alongside jaw pain. Then, we will take a look at the collective symptoms to try and determine a possible underlying factor that relates to all of them. Finally, we will address a natural therapy that has been able to help some patients with jaw pain in case studies. We will even present a case study for your consideration. Read on to get to the bottom of stubborn jaw pain.
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
When you have chronic jaw pain along with other symptoms, you may be living with a TMJ disorder. Let us begin by taking a closer look at additional symptoms you could be experiencing along with your jaw pain.
- Radiating pain – While you may experience pain while chewing, speaking, yawning, and other uses of the jaw, pain rarely occurs in the TMJ alone. You may also experience trigeminal pain (pain in the facial nerve), ear pain, or neck pain. Additionally, you may experience headaches frequently.
- Miscellaneous symptoms – Other symptoms may not seem to be related in any way to your jaw at first. For example, you may experience frequent ear infections, tinnitus (a buzzing or ringing sound in the ear), or tingling and numbness in the face or neck. Additionally, you may hear a clicking or grinding noise when opening and closing your jaw. You may also experience a limited range of movement as far as how wide you can open your jaw.
What do all of these symptoms have in common? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that lead to TMJ disorders.
TMJ Disorder Causes You Should Know About
The onset of your TMJ pain could find its genesis in any number of circumstances. Here are some of the more common possible causes of jaw pain and the accompanying symptoms.
- Physical trauma – If you experience a head or neck injury, or perhaps a blow directly to the jaw, this can result in TMJ problems.
- Poor posture – The neck may play a significant role in TMJ pain and other symptoms. If you do not maintain proper posture, this could lead to misalignment and pain.
- Stress or anxiety – Anxiety and stress result in the release of hormones that cause the muscles to tense. When stress levels remain elevated for long periods, this can lead to pain. Anxiety may also cause a person to grind their teeth or clench their jaw, and both of these factors can lead to jaw issues as well.
- Osteoarthritis – This is a musculoskeletal condition in which the cartilage of a joint becomes worn down to the point that pain occurs. If this happens in the jaw, it can lead to TMJ pain. The neck can also experience the effects of arthritis.
- Medical procedures – If you recently underwent surgery that required having your mouth open for an extended period of time (e.g., you had a breathing tube), your TMJ pain may be due to overuse. In this case, you may just have to rest your jaw for a week or two.
These are just some of the factors that can lead to TMJ problems. With that in mind, not all TMJ is the same. Sometimes, the pain may go away in a week or two with some self-care at home. Let’s look at the best practices for relieving minor jaw issues.
Self-Care for Minor Cases of TMJ Pain
Don’t let the word “minor” fool you. You may actually be experiencing a lot of pain. However, the problem is not chronic if you can take care of it within a couple of weeks using home remedies. If TMJ pain continues, grows worse, or recurs, you will need medical intervention. In the meantime, you can try the following:
- Ice – In the days following an injury, ice can help to relieve inflammation. Since inflammation is often the source of pain, this can help ease the pain while your body heals.
- Moist heat – Heat, on the other hand, sends more blood to the area. This is great for healing, but only after the inflammation has gone down because the rush of blood can actually increase swelling.
- Stress management – Whether you go for a massage, take a vacation, or learn some meditation exercises, reducing your stress is crucial. This is particularly true if your jaw pain is related to clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth.
- Rest – Whether you eat softer foods, avoid opening your mouth wide for a week or two, or use your hand to support your jaw when yawning, find ways to give your TMJ a break. You may learn that the pain was from overuse and that it clears up within a week or two.
If these tips don’t work and the pain persists, increases, or keeps returning, you may need to see a doctor. Why not try an upper cervical chiropractor first for a natural solution? Here is a case study revealing the potential benefits.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Jaw Pain
In one study involving a 14-year-old girl, upper cervical chiropractic was able to relieve jaw pain as well as face pain that she was experiencing under her eye. Radiographs allowed the practitioner to see a misalignment and correct it. Symptoms resided after the first adjustment. Leg length checks at future examinations confirmed that the correction held. A year later, the patient’s mom said that her pain never returned.
If you are living with chronic TMJ pain, contact an upper cervical chiropractor in your area today to learn more. This may just be the natural solution for you!