TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a group of related conditions characterized by jaw pain and headache. Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction can be caused by problems with the TMJ or muscles surrounding it. In most cases, conservative home remedies for TMJ disorder may relieve the symptoms. So before you turn to more permanent solutions, try traditional remedies first.
There are many common symptoms of TMJ disorder. You may experience stiffness in the jaw muscles, limited movement, and popping and clicking noises from your jaw. Clenching and grinding your teeth may also be caused by TMJ dysfunction; in some cases, you may even experience migraine-like headaches. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to seek medical attention.
Let’s take a look at the six most common signs of a TMJ disorder:
1. Stiffness in the Jaw Muscles
Improper posture can also aggravate the pain and discomfort associated with TMD. Stiffness in the jaw muscles is accompanied by pain and dysfunction in the neck and back. While most cases of TMJ dysfunction resolve with conservative home remedies, aggressive TMJ treatment may be necessary in some cases. It is essential to exhaust reversible remedies before considering surgical or prescription medicines.
2. Limited Movement of the Jaw
TMJ disorders are painful disorders affecting the joints and muscles that connect the lower jawbone to the skull. A bad bite or orthodontic braces can cause them. The symptoms of TMJ vary from person to person, but the general pattern is the same. You must see a doctor immediately if you experience jaw pain, headache, or limited range of motion on one or both sides of the jaw.
You may suffer from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder if you have limited movement in your jaw. This condition is associated with symptoms ranging from mild pain to a throbbing or clicking sensation and may even include TMJ headache, neck pain, and ear ringing. While these symptoms rarely last long, they can worsen with chewing, clenching, or yawning.
3. Strange Noises from the Jaw
A clicking sound in your jaw is another indication of TMJ. This noise is generally noticeable to anyone standing near the patient. The shifting of the TMJ disk can cause such noises, and it is easy to hear these sounds while chewing or yawning. If you notice clicking sounds in your jaw, you should seek professional care for TMJ disorder.
While you may find it embarrassing to make these noises, they can indicate that something is wrong. The sounds can last from a few minutes to a few weeks. Sometimes, the audible noises disappear after a few days or weeks without TMJ treatment. A broken jaw or dislocation can also cause crackling noises, so you should visit your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms.
In most cases, strange noises coming from the jaw can be caused by many factors. For example, you may be clenching your jaw muscles, which can lead to cracked, broken, or worn teeth. You should see a dentist immediately if you notice any of these signs. Your dentist can determine what’s causing your jaw to crack before recommending TMJ therapy in Utah.
4. Frequent Migraine-Like Headaches
Although frequent headaches are common among people with TMJ, they are not the only symptom of this disorder. People with TMJ often experience ear-related symptoms, including dizziness and vertigo. These symptoms are so common that they can even cause migraine-like symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. While many mistakenly believe migraines cause these symptoms, they result from TMJ. However, the fact remains that TMJ therapy in Utah can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches significantly.
5. Improper Bite or Teeth Grinding
The diagnosis of TMD involves a thorough physical exam and determining whether your jaws are correctly aligned, known as the CR or centric relation, which refers to how the jaws are positioned. If your TMJ is out of alignment, it can cause pain and premature wear to your jaw joint. If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, or if you notice that your bite is abnormal, you should seek professional care for TMJ disorder.
There are a few TMJ therapy options available to treat such conditions. The most common is wearing a nightguard or splint. These appliances fit over the teeth and correct the jaw, so it doesn’t have to work as hard. This appliance is only worn at night, so you won’t need to worry about grinding your teeth. In addition, you can also ask your dentist about the right oral appliance for you. These treatments will help bring the alignment of your teeth to a normal state.
6. Pressure Pain in the Face or Neck
Other symptoms of TMJ disorder include ear, neck, and face pain. Although the pain in the jaw is the most common sign, this disorder can also cause headaches, ear pain, and vertigo. While jaw pain and headache are the most common symptoms, others, such as ear fullness or dizziness, are more challenging to diagnose. A dentist specializes in TMD and will be able to prescribe the proper TMJ treatment for your specific case.
A prevalent symptom of TMJ disorder is earache. Many patients visit an ENT specialist, also known as an otolaryngologist, thinking an ear infection causes the pain. However, the eardrum looks normal. Moreover, it may also accompany dizziness and ear pain. However, seeking professional care for TMD is crucial, as early detection can significantly improve your treatment options.
Things That Make TMJ Worse
If you’ve suffered from TMJ, you probably already know that certain foods hurt more than others. But if your jaw pain or headache is new and you’re finding it challenging to eat anything without pain, you may not be aware of which foods make TMJ worse. Try to avoid the habits and things that make TMJ worse.
- Chewing gum or using your teeth as grinding tools can exacerbate TMJ symptoms by overstretching the jaw muscles. Excessive gum chewing can also aggravate the condition by causing overuse of the TMJ muscles and microtrauma to the joint.
- A poor posture can also cause TMD, putting additional pressure on the jaw joint. You may be more likely to get a TMJ headache or migraines when this happens.
- In addition to these everyday habits, eating chewy or tough foods can cause discomfort in the jaw. Avoid these foods whenever possible, as they may be causing your pain. The best way to know which foods trigger your symptoms is to monitor them and change them accordingly.
The first step in getting TMJ therapy in Utah is to visit your doctor. A physical therapist will first evaluate your jaw and check for disc displacement. The therapist may prescribe certain medications or TMJ pain exercises. In more severe cases, they may refer you to an oral surgeon. Chiropractic care is also an excellent option for treating a TMJ headache. Chiropractors focus on spinal manipulation and manual adjustments to relieve pain and tension.
Symptomatic relief for TMJ usually comes from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. You can always try an anti-inflammatory medication if these treatments don’t work. Your healthcare provider can also prescribe more potent painkillers and narcotic analgesics if need be.
Muscle relaxants, like acetaminophen and naproxen, can also help with pain and inflammation. Other treatments may involve anti-anxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines. However, it is essential to follow the directions on the label. You should never exceed prescribed doses without consulting with a doctor. Consider contacting a dentist if you don’t see relief within a week.