If you suffer from a TMJ disorder, you understand the ways that it can affect day-to-day life. More than being just jaw pain, a TMJ disorder can limit your ability to enjoy a meal or even pursue a hobby like singing. It is important to learn all you can about your condition, so here are 10 things you need to know about TMJ disorders.
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You may hear people complaining about having TMJ, but that fact is every human should have a TMJ. It stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the joint that attaches the lower mandible to the rest of the skull. That’s why you will see us refer to the condition as either as a TMJ disorder, TMJ dysfunction, or TMD.
When someone has a TMJ disorder, the jaw isn’t the only place that pain is felt. Other common pains include, neck pain, ear pain, face pain, and even migraines. Additionally, some patients experience pain as far away as the upper back and shoulders.
Rather than just being a pain condition, TMD can also affect a person’s ability to use his or her jaw. Certain movements may be restricted. This can affect a person’s ability to chew or even speak.
TMJ problems can be attributed to a number of different issues. One common factor is that the problems often begin following an accident or injury. While the blow may not necessarily have been to the jaw, injuries of the neck can also lead to TMJ problems which can explain why the pain is not focused just in the jaw.
Bruxism, a fancy way of saying teeth grinding, can lead to jaw pain. This is a condition that is often related to stress. Besides jaw pain, bruxism can affect the teeth, wearing them away and eventually leading to tooth loss. If bruxism is the problem, the solution is often a combination of stress relief techniques and a mouthguard to wear to bed.
TMJ pain is not always chronic. Your jaw may just be tired. Try eating softer foods for a few days. If that doesn’t help, then there may be a bigger underlying cause.
Even if bruxism is not the cause of your pain, stress can still cause you to clench and release your jaw over and over. This can wear the joint out. So stress relief techniques are important for anyone with a TMJ problem.
We’ve already addressed that someone with TMD may suffer from bruxism. However, this is not the only sleep issue related to jaw pain. In fact, TMD patients are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It is unknown how the two conditions are related. In other words, researchers can’t figure out if jaw problems lead to OSA or if people with OSA are just more likely to have a jaw problem. Either way, TMD is equated with sleep problems and that can lead to headaches or even migraines – both of which are more common for TMD patients.
We noted earlier that TMJ problems often arise after trauma and that neck pain is a common symptom. These two facts together lead us to look to the neck for the source of pain. For example, the atlas (C1) is in proximity to the TMJ, facial nerve, and ears. Plus, a misalignment of this bone can cause pain in the upper back and shoulders. This quickly paints a picture as to how an atlas misalignment can basically cause all of the symptoms that are common with TMD.
You don’t need to fight a lifelong battle with TMJ pain. Many have seen benefits through home care and other natural remedies. For example, you may get relief from simple things like:
We also would like to introduce you to upper cervical chiropractic care. This is a natural form of healthcare that is finding success in helping TMD patients. What is upper cervical chiropractic? It is a subspecialty of chiropractic that focuses on the top two bones in the spine, the C1 (atlas) and the C2 (axis).
If you have never experienced upper cervical chiropractic, here are three things that set it apart.
To learn more about what upper cervical chiropractic may be able to do for you, contact a practitioner in your area and schedule a no-obligation consultation.
The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.