Category Archives: Symptoms of TMJ

There are a wide range of symptoms which can be attributed to the TMJ condition. The most common symptoms are the presence of neck pain, jaw ache and headaches. Successful treatment plans are available which have been shown to relieve all the common symptoms of TMJ. TMJ has become a catchall term for undiagnosed headaches, facial pain, and jaw dysfunction (problems opening or closing your mouth).

Jaw dysfunction is often seen as problems opening and closing your mouth, very limited openings, jaws getting stuck when opening or closing, and popping or clicking noises when opening or closing. These aforementioned problems can have the jaw area sore, but they can also cause headache and neck pain (mild to severe). In the majority of cases, pain is the symptom that motivates patients to seek treatment. Specifically, TMJ is short for Temporo-Mandibular Joint (“jaw joint”). When there are problems within the TM joints, this can effect the nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the head and neck.

Everyone is familiar with the pain caused by a slipped disc in the back. The right and left TM joints also have a disc. Slippage or movement of this disc in the “jaw joint” throws the mandible (lower jaw) out of balance with the upper jaw. This stresses nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the head and neck. Continued stress to these structures causes an individual pain. The patient will show up with teeth pain, ear pain, eye pain, and a myriad of other symptoms. In some cases, the pain is so debilitating that it effects one’s ability to function in life!

Why is this joint so important in treating headaches and head/neck pain?

The answer starts with the basic concept of a joint that has a dislocated disc. The dislocation can cause imbalance and pain in that portion of the body. If the disc is displaced in the knee, the muscles of the leg are placed under the burden of trying to protect the injured joint. The muscular effort results in spasm, cramping, and pain. When the disc is displaced (dislocated) in the TM joints, the muscles of the head are stressed and they begin to spasm and pain results. This same scenario follows joints and muscles throughout the body.

The American Medical Association Ad Hoc Committee on Headache Classification has listed 15 different types of headaches. The AMA study illustrates that muscle contraction headaches are those which are suffered most frequently. This category comprises 90% of all headaches. Migraines comprise only 6% of all headaches. The public has used the term “migraine” synonymously with severe headache pain. In reality, most of these severe headaches are muscle contraction in origin.

Bruxism Treatment Options

Bruxism has some painful and damaging consequences for your teeth, joints and muscles. Your teeth are made of the hardest substance the body can produce, and when they’re grinding against each other the tooth enamel can crack, shatter, and wear away leaving you with a broken or stumpy smile. Worn enamel can’t protect the delicate inner tissues of your teeth like it’s supposed to, causing anything from toothaches to decayed teeth that must be pulled and replaced.

The enormous pressure exerted on your temporomandibular (jaw) joint can lead to one of many TMJ disorders, including dislocation and arthritis. And we haven’t even mentioned stress on the muscles in your face, neck, and shoulders or the tension headaches that bruxism sufferers often experience. Suffice it to say bruxism is bad news.

The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to relieve the pain and even fix the causes of your bruxism to eliminate the problem altogether. The first step is to bring your concerns up to your dentist. If you don’t know what to say, take a look at our helpful guide for some good questions to ask and things to keep in mind during your conversation.

Once you know more about your unique case of bruxism you can better choose a treatment option. For instance, if you don’t clench very hard, you could save money by getting a well-designed night guard from a drugstore instead of paying $400 or more for a hand-crafted night guard from your dentist. Or if your bruxing is caused by emotional stress you can get a temporary night guard while you take steps to relax and relieve the tension.

Questions for the Dentist

How hard am I bruxing?

If you’re a very hard grinder, a rigid, hand-crafted nightguard might be your only option. An OTC nightguard will provide you some relief while you wait for your custom guard to come in from the dentist.

Could my bruxism be a symptom of something else?

Sometimes bruxism is a side effect or indicator of a different problem. Most often it’s a symptom of stress, but can also indicate some problems with prescription medications or other, more serious, medical conditions. Your dentist will help you determine if you’re at risk for any of these problems.

Is a dental problem contributing to my bruxism?

Malocclusion and crooked or missing teeth are often factors in bruxism. Your doctor can recommend ways to fix the problem at the source and eliminate your grinding that way. He can also recommend ways to relieve the pressure while other problems are addressed, including how to fit a night guard to accommodate your unique situation.

What are bruxism symptoms like?

Bruxism affects many systems and functions of your body, so isolating symptoms can be a little confusing. Since damage from tooth grinding increases over time, recognizing the warning signs and getting help fast can save you pain, time, and money.

Muscle pain in your jaw

  • Facial pain.
  • Broken or cracked teeth.
  • Worn tooth enamel – the yellowish dentin will start to show through in some cases.
  • Increased sensitivity.
  • Stiff or locked jaw when you wake up.
  • Increased muscle tension in your neck and shoulders.
  • Tension headaches.

Be sure to ask your sleeping partner whether or not they hear you grinding at night. Often the grinding noise will be loud enough to disturb their sleep.

Stress Relief Suggestions

First, you need to understand that stress is chemical – it’s nothing more than hormones running around in your brain. And stress hormones are good things! That “fight or flight” reaction we call stress is essential for adaptation and sometimes even survival. However, prolonged stress keeps high levels of these hormones in your system for a long time and causes you to over-respond when faced with new stressors. Basically, if you stay stressed for a long time you’ll just get more stressed. Yikes!

Here are some good ways to deal with the wacky levels of stress hormones running around in your body.

EXCERCISE – Since we get that “fight or flight” response most often in places we can’t fight or flee, hormone levels stay elevated at an unhealthy level for too long. Exercise (“fighting” or “fleeing”) works those hormones and neurochemicals out of your system. Even as little as one 20-minute walk a day will have a positive impact on your health.

Create a comfortable routine – No, don’t schedule every second of your day hoping to avoid surprises. That’ll just make it worse. Do, however, create a comfortable framework that can support you through times of instability. Habits and predictability can be very soothing and give you a chance to prepare for future changes.

Take a break – Get away from whatever is stressing you for a while and decompress. Count to ten. Breathe. Take a walk. Do something, anything, to interrupt the stress cycle. Uninterrupted stress is very harmful, so breaking it up will help you get those hormones back down to manageable levels.

Think twice about medicating – Some prescription anxiety medications can make the stress response even stronger, making trivial issues trigger big surges of stress chemicals. Retreating into treatments that address the symptoms of stress often prevents us from addressing stressors at the source and actually eliminating them or controlling their impact on our lives. That said, only a conversation with your doctor can determine the best way to go, so be sure to bring up your concerns at your next appointment.

It should go without saying that illegal drugs and abuse of alcohol and prescription medications will most definitely make the issue worse. Avoid using them for stress relief at all costs.

TMJ and Tinnitus Symptoms and Treatment Plans

TMJ and Tinnitus Symptoms and Treatment Plans

TMJ and Tinnitus are often linked together as symptoms of TMJ since the underlying cause of TMJ is associated to the jaw muscle. The jaw bone muscles are closely linked to the ear and inner ear canals which can often have an adverse effect upon the ears should you be suffering with TMJ. The TMJ condition which medically is referred to as the “Tempero-Mandibular Joint” is in essence the jaw bone ‘hinge joint of the body. It is one of the most complex and intricately designed muscles in the human body. The joint contains a smooth disc which is used to smoothly raise and lower the jaw bone which for TMJ suffers can become misaligned causing pain and discomfort.

Tinnitus and TMJ Symptoms

TMJ and Tinnitus Symptoms and Treatment PlansTypically, when a patient is presenting signs of TMJ and tinnitus they generally feel strange and precise sensations within the inner ear canal. Medical diagnosis of the condition can often be difficult and typically involves a degree of monitoring by medical staff before an accurate diagnosis can be made. If you think you may have Tinnitus as a result of suffering with TMJ one good method to understand whether this is in fact the condition is to move your jaw muscle whist humming a tune. If you sense that the humming is being compromised by the movement of the jaw this may be associated to TMJ and Tinnitus. Whichever, you need to seek to advice of a medical practitioner to understand accurately what the condition is you are suffering from.

What the Doctors Think

Many medical professionals believe there is a definite link between flow patterns of your body and the association of TMJ and Tinnitus. In many documented cases of TMJ doctors have observed that patients exude signs of suffering with vertigo in addition to necj, jaw and head pain (TMJ headaches). It is believed there is a link between the symptoms of Tinnitus and tension between the tympani and tensor palatini. In addition, it is worth considering that the trigeminal nerve functions to serve the movements of the jaw. This is often associated with signs of Tinnitus amongst TMJ sufferers.

Symptoms of Tinnitus with TMJ Sufferers

The symptoms of Tinnitus in TMJ sufferers include a consistent ‘clicking’ noise as well as buzzing and low hums which cannot be heard by non sufferers. The consistency of these sounds makes daily life difficult and particularly so in relation to sleep patterns. Broken sleep and the inability to stop the noises leads to further complications as a result of tiredness.

Tinnitus and TMJ Treatment Options

Treatment plans for TMJ and Tinnitus include TMJ and Tinnitus home administered remedies as well as prescription prescribed drugs. Many sufferers have not seen the type of progress in the condition following these types of treatments compared against many of the exercise and physical therapy related treatments. The most common treatment to help reduce the Tinnitus symptoms is through chiropractic exercises which generally follow a plan of 2-3 months. Clearly, this can become fairly cost prohibitive to many which is why the home treatment remedies tend to be the preferred treatment route once an accurate diagnosis has been made.

TMJ Neck Pain Therapies

TMJ Neck Pain Treatment Plan

Should you be unfortunate enough to suffer with TMJ neck pain you are certainly not alone. The TMJ condition is a lot more common than people think as well as affecting many areas of the body from ear problems to awareness and stability issues such as dizziness and feelings of light headedness. Although neck pain is a common ailment associated with TMJ is can on occasions be the most difficult to associate to the TMJ condition since the neck and back areas of our bodies are also prone to problems from other conditions.

Do You Have TMJ Associated Neck Problems?

TMJ Neck Pain TherapiesThe pain caused by neck problems can and often does lead to other complications whether this is a result of TMJ of other influences. Many thousands of people suffer with back related problems each year but the amount which are attributed to TMJ related conditions continues to be unclear.

TMJ is a condition which begins with a misaligned or displaced jaw bone which are surrounded by a large amount of muscles helping to raise and lower the jaw bone. If you stop and consider for a moment how much work the jaw bone and associated muscle tissues do on a daily basis you can better understand how this muscle can on occasions fail us. Typically speaking however, TMJ neck pain is generally derived from some sort of impact to the jaw, head or neck areas of the body.

The reason why the TMJ condition affects the neck muscles is a result of the nerves which share the same functions. As a result of this, neck, jaw and ear pain can result.

Treating TMJ Neck Pain Effectively

There are a wide variety of treatments for TMJ neck pain issues the most common of which is exercise regimes, acupuncture and prescription medication. These treatments have been shown to be effective in many cases although with the increase in the numbers of people contracting the illness there is a growing need for an effective remedy which can be administered in the comfort of your own home.

Medical doctors will generally look to a holistic and strategic approach to treating TMJ neck problems. Initially, they will look to reduce any swelling or inflammation around the head and neck area through the use of prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. These for the most part only provide relief of the symptoms rather than getting to the problem. Physical exercises can and do help to flex the affected muscle groups around the neck area helping to achieve a greater degree of movement than was achievable prior to the onset of symptoms.

There is no doubt that modern medicine is capable of treating TMJ neck pain effectively. It is in my experience that practical home TMJ neck pain therapies as provided here, in combination with gentle exercises and a good quality treatment plan are the best treatment options to relieve and treatment TMJ related problems.

How to Treat TMJ Effectively

TMJ Dizziness and Jaw Pain?

TMJ dizziness is a common problem associated with the many symptoms of the TMJ condition. TMJ or otherwise known as the “Temporomandibular Joint Disease”, can affect daily life to such an extent that radical intervention is required to restore your life back into balance.

Do you have Dizziness and Jaw Pain?

The disorder typically consists of dizziness related symptoms bought on by headaches, jaw pain, teeth grinding problems (including chewing issues), hand tingling, inner ear discomfort, Tinnitus and in some cases the onset of vertigo stress.

The origins of all these disorders are generally located within the TMJ condition which stems from a misaligned or disjointed jaw bone. See our TMJ headaches page for an image of the specific muscles area of the cartilage which causes the problem.TMJ Dizziness Problems

TMJ Dizziness Problems

How to get rid of the Dizziness and Light Headed Feelings

Given the TMJ condition effects the mouth, head and facial area of our bodies it tends to associate itself with headaches and other inner ear problems. Also associated with the inner ear is of course our ability to balance ourselves. When this internal balance mechanism is compromised as a result of TMJ disorders this may cause sufferers to exhibit dizzy spells when the only thing they can do is sit down and wait it out until it has passed.

This is simply no way to lead your life during this period and there are a number of remedies available in the market to reduce the condition and dizziness, thereby helping until the root of the condition can be treated. There are a number of online resources dedicated to TMJ dizziness which are detailed at the end of this report. For people whom prefer to choose home remedies this TMJ dizziness home treatment plan which also address the dizziness symptoms has been shown to be effective for many patients diagnosed with the TMJ disease.

Seek professional advice

One of the most important elements of the problem is correct diagnosis. Given the syndrome is so diverse and varied it is important to appreciate the condition you are suffering to enable an effective treatment plan to be recommended. This is where your local doctor can help.

This is especially true for dizziness symptoms as a result of the condition. Should you be operating machinery or other equipment dizziness is not something which can be tolerated in these circumstances therefore do seek professional help in order to sort the problem out for good.

Resources:

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/PatientAlerts/ucm108042.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12555932