Common Symptoms Of Jaw Tension
Jaw tension can show up in many ways and locations. You might feel it on just one side or both, and for some, it can even flip-flop. It can also cause headaches and earaches, as well as discomfort in your mouth or nose.
Your neck, shoulders, and back muscles connect to your jaw, so tightness in any of these areas can impact the others. They all get hit hard by stress, so it’s no wonder symptoms tend to get worse at work .
Jaw pain can be mild or intense, and the quality can be achy, throbbing, or even electrical. Chewing can be painful in some cases, or even less forceful movements like speaking or yawning. Clicking in the jaw can sometimes accompany tension or pain, but it’s not necessarily a problem on its own.
Let’s look at two particular jaw conditions that affect lots of people: TMJ and Bruxism.
Lower Back Pain May Be Caused By Bowel Problems
Problems of the lower back may be related to bowel problems or painful and swollen bowels. Back pain and piercing or nagging pain in the abdomen may be attributable to swollen bowels and flatulence.
For all kinds of reasons, the stomach may feel uncomfortable and cause back problems at the same time. In turn, back problems may cause abdominal pain. The nerves of both regions run lumbar . So, they have considerable impact on each other.
Regenerative Medicine Treatments For Cervical Vertigo
The emerging field of Regenerative Medicine addresses issues such as cervical vertigo, among many others. Using cutting-edge technology, experts are able to provide treatment for a wide range of conditions. CellAxys offers two forms of Regenerative Medicine:
- Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy: this form of therapy involves taking a patients own mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are harvested from a patients bone marrow. They are then processed to be more concentrated, then reinjected into the problem area. In the cervical spine, they would be injected into the facet joints. Mesencymal Stem Cells contain healing properties which could be used to repair the damage that has occurred.
- Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy: this form of therapy begins with a blood draw. The blood sample is then placed in a centrifuge, which is able to separate the platelets from other properties in the blood. Platelets contain proteins and growth factors that allow healing to occur wherever they exist in the body. The concentrated platelet solution is then injected into a patients injury site, similar to mesenchymal stem cell injections.
These forms of treatment use imaging techniques such as live X-ray or Ultrasound to guide the needle to the injury site. This ensures that treatment is as effective as possible.
A Surprising Link: The Dental Back Pain Connection
If you suffer from chronic back pain but cannot determine the reason, the underlying cause could be surprising: a dental issue.
This unexpected connection is an example of referred pain, or pain in an area of the body other than where it originates. have shown that referred pain is due to the way the bodys nerve fibers converge on and send signals up and down the spinal column. These signals make it so that dysfunction or pain towards the top of the spinal column, such as a toothache, can influence the structures below, such as the upper and low back, and vice versa.
Referred pain can also result from the ways in which our muscles interact with and support each other. A common example is the link between the jaw disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder, and chronic back pain. TMJ occurs when the hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull dysfunctions, causing pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
Patients with TMJ often complain of backaches, because when the jaw is out of alignment, it causes the neighboring muscles to exert extra effort. The muscles in the neck, shoulders and back work to correct the misalignment, and when these muscles tire, the surrounding areas can experience chronic pain.
Have you ever experienced back pain, due to a condition or pain elsewhere in your body? Tell us about your experiences on .
What Are The Parts Of The Cervical Spine
Your entire spine is made up of 24 vertebrae . The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae that begin at the base of the skull. Running through an opening of the entire vertebral column are the spinal cord and its nerves. The spinal cord and nerves carry messages between the brain and rest of body, including muscles and organs. Between each vertebrae are disks. The disks act like the bodys shock absorbers. The disks are made of flexible but strong connective tissue filled with a gel-like material. Disks are like jelly-filled, cushy doughnuts between each vertebrae.
There are three joints between each pair of vertebrae. The front joint is called the intervertebral disk. Two joints in the back of the spine are called facet joints. Within every joint is cartilage, which cushions the ends of bones. Ligaments are soft bands of tissue that connect the vertebrae together.
Spondylosis is the natural wearing down of these parts of the spine. Cartilage wears out over time, disks lose their volume and become dried and cracked, ligaments may thicken and bone spurs may form where bones rub against each other in areas that are no longer covered with cartilage. All of these changes are defined as spondylosis.
In Other Words The Muscle Is Thicker Because It Is Trying To Do A Job It Is Not Intended To Do The Job Of The Cervical Ligaments And Keep The Vertebrae In Place
In this image, we see a depiction of a muscle spasm in the back of the neck. Why the muscle spasms, or why it gets thicker is a response to cervical spine ligament injury. The muscle is trying to hold things together to prevent the nerve or cervical arteries from being impinged.
These researchers did cite another study that you may find of interest because it is something we see in many patients. The inability of the head to return to a normal posture position following certain movements because the vertebrae are not where they should be. They are not lined up correctly. This would lead to muscle thickening. This study comes from the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. It deals with whiplash victims and dizziness.
Dizziness and/or unsteadiness are common symptoms of chronic whiplash-associated disorders. This study aimed to report the characteristics of these symptoms and determine whether there was any relationship to cervical joint position error. Joint position error, the accuracy to return to the natural head posture following extension and rotation, was measured in 102 subjects with persistent whiplash-associated disorder and 44 control subjects. . . The results indicated that subjects with whiplash-associated disorders had significantly greater joint position errors than control subjects.
The researchers noted:
Mechanisms Of Cervicogenic Facial Pain
The trigeminal nerve arises from the mid-brain or brain-stem , which is located above the spinal cord. But the nucleus of this nerve , extends from the brain-stem down to the third cervical segment of the spinal cord . It is surrounded by the ganglions of the spinal nerves and is known to interact with these cells . This functional interaction is responsible for the to and fro referral of painful sensations from neck and face. This can even result in headache, which is referred as cervicogenic headache .
Picture 1: Trigeminal Nerve Origin
Several receptors are responsible for perception of sensations on the face. Touch, pain, pressure, temperature, and so on, are all perceived by individual receptors present in the skin. Nerve fibers from these receptors form sensory nerves and carry the sensations from these receptors to the brain. However, due to interconnections between these nerves the sensations from a particular area reach several nerves and reach the brain by different pathways. So if a particular nerve is damaged the neighboring nerves carry the sensations from that part. That is why, if a single nerve is damaged, it only leads to partial loss of sensations rather than complete numbness.
Picture 2: Trigeminal Nucleus with spinal interconnections
Treatment of Cervicogenic Facial Pain discusses the various treatment options that can effectively help to control this disease.
What Are The Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of neck pain may be stiffness, tightness, aching, burning or stabbing or shooting pains, pressure, or tingling. Muscles can feel sore or tense in the neck, face, or shoulders. Muscles can spasm when they go into a state of extreme contraction . Movement may be restricted â perhaps you cannot turn your head. If nerves are involved, pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness may develop in your shoulders, arms or hands.
Several situations signal the need for prompt medical attention. If nerve compression is severe, symptoms can include pain, numbness, tingling in the arms or legs, loss of bladder or bowel control, or loss of strength and problems with coordination.
Neck pain along with a severe headache, fever, or nausea could be a sign of infection or a bleed in the brain. If your neck is so stiff that you can’t touch your chin to chest, seek medical help immediately.
Treatment Of A Pinched Nerve In The Neck
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are generally prescribed for acute pain relief from a pinched nerve in the neck. Oral steroids are sometimes used, but long-term use should be avoided due to potential side effects.
As always, please consult your doctor before taking any medication, as they all have potential adverse effects. For instance, muscle relaxants may cause sedation and NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding, kidney problems, and an allergic reaction in some people.
Physical therapy is a complementary treatment to medication for a pinched nerve, as is a message. Cervical nerve root blocks, in which steroids are injected into the affected nerve to relieve inflammation, are also sometimes used if a person continues to have pain despite medication and physical therapy.
If people with cervical radiculopathy continue to have symptoms despite the therapies above , they are often referred for imaging of the spine and/or to a spine surgeon.
Tmj: Common Cause Of Pain
Named for the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull, temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ affects about 10 million people, according to data from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. TMJ occurs when these joints become inflamed and irritated, sometimes as a result of trauma, but more often from other causes like:
- Poorly aligned teeth
- Clenching or grinding habits
Normally, your teeth work in pairs upper and lower. Missing teeth or teeth that are poorly aligned or misshapen throw off your bite balance, and that places a lot of extra strain on your jaw joints. Over time, that excess strain irritates the joints, causing inflammation. The muscles that control your jaw movements also become irritated and sore. Sometimes, you may develop a clenching or grinding habit as your jaw attempts to bring your teeth back into ideal alignment. Interestingly, while grinding and clenching can cause or contribute to TMJ, they can also be caused by the disorder.
As the inflammation inside the joint continues, many patients develop clicking noises when they open their mouths or chew. Sometimes, the jaw may feel like its sticking in an open position. In very severe cases of TMJ, the joint may become so inflamed, it can be painful to close your mouth.
What Causes Pinched Nerve In Neck
It is basically a condition involving a damaged nerve or set of nerves. The nerve becomes dysfunctional due to the damage and fails to carry signals required to control muscle movements. Pinched nerve can happen in the lower back, neck or even in your wrist.
You experience this situation due to many different conditions:
- Herniated disks: Sometimes, your cervical disks slip out of place and exert pressure on a nerve in your neck.
- Narrowing spinal space: You may have developed a pinched nerve in the neck due to a condition called spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the space within the vertebrae. With not enough space in the vertebrae, it may press on to a nerve in your neck and cause pain.
- Degeneration of disks: The disks in your spine will deteriorate with age. When this happens, your vertebrae may become narrow and pinch a nerve.
- Bony growths: Also known as bone spurs, these bony growths in your neck are the outcome of a degenerative disk disease such as arthritis. These bony growths put pressure on a nerve in your neck then cause pain and tingling sensation.
Neck Pain And The Vagus Nerve
When doctors see patients with chronic neck pain, many arent sure how to interpret what they see. Many of these patients are anxious, depressed, and just a little crazy. In fact, when I was in training and then just beginning private practice, many of my colleagues thought most of these chronic neck pain patients were crazy and lazy. The lazy part came from the fact that many were made worse by traditional physical therapy and didnt want to continue hurting themselves.
For me, all of that changed after a key study was published that showed that if you got rid of their neck pain, these patients were no longer crazy, meaning that depression and anxiety went away . Meaning, that the study showed us that something going on in the neck was causing these symptoms. So patients werent crazy and lazy, they just had a neck problem. Could this be the vagus nerve?
Where the vagus nerve travels may explain why we see patients with lots of crazy symptoms. This includes depression, anxiety, and rapid heart rate . Why the rapid heart rate? The vagus nerve acts as the brakes for the heart. So irritation of the nerve by surrounding muscles or bones can lead to inhibition of the nerve thus removing the brakes for heart rate, which means a faster heart. The nerve has also been implicated in headaches .
Changes In Bowel And/or Bladder Control
Consult your doctor immediately if you have any sudden, unexplained changes in your bowel and/or bladder control. These changes may include:
- An inability to control your bowel and/or bladder movements.
- Difficulty in passing urine, a reduced urinary sensation, a loss of desire to pass urine, or a poor stream.,
These symptoms indicate a rare, but serious medical condition called cauda equina syndrome. In addition to incontinence problems, cauda equina syndrome may also cause:
- Sudden pain and weakness in both your legs
- Numbness in your groin, buttocks, genitals and/or inner thighs .
Cauda equina syndrome can occur suddenly or gradually and typically requires immediate surgery to control the symptoms. If patients with cauda equina syndrome do not receive prompt treatment, it can result in difficulty in walking and/or other neurological problems, including lower-body paralysis. Doctors advise treating this condition within 24 to 48 hours of symptom occurrence in order to preserve lower limb function.,,
While rare, sciatica caused due to severe disc herniation in the lower spine may progress into cauda equina syndrome.
Headaches Neck Pain And More
Headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain occur over time as the strain in your jaw migrates into the jaw and facial muscles. Grinding and clenching especially when they occur for hours at a time while you sleep increase the tension in these muscles.
Headaches and muscle pain associated with TMJ are often worse in the morning after a night of clenching and grinding. Sometimes, pain persists throughout the day, especially if the muscles form knots or trigger points of tight muscle tissue. Jaw joints may feel tender when pressed, but its common to have headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain even when theres no noticeable tenderness around the jaw joints.
Breathing For Jaw Relief
Most of us don’t breathe well. Stress makes your breathing more rapid and shallow, and vice versa. Focused on your tasks in the daily grind, your shallow breathing creates more stress, which keeps your breath shallow. And the cycle goes on.
You enter a fight-or-flight response. Your muscles, especially the ones around your jaw, get tight, and at some point, they start to hurt.
You’ve got to interrupt the pattern. Fortunately, we can control our breathing, so it’s the perfect entry point for breaking out of this downward spiral.
Here Are Some Of The Tests They Reviewed For Patients Cervical Vertigo And Cervicogenic Dizziness And Brief Reasoning Behind Them:
The Duke researchers were very comprehensive. Here are some of the tests they reviewed for patients in chronic condition and brief reasoning behind them:
Lets point out again that the Duke team suggests that diagnosis is difficult and is sort of like peeling an onion, there are many layers that need to be peeled away, Cervicogenic dizziness is a diagnosis of exclusion.
In research published by Caring Medical: Chronic Neck Pain: Making the Connection Between Capsular Ligament Laxity and Cervical Instability lead by Danielle Steilen-Matias. Our team also suggested that the diagnosis of chronic neck pain due to cervical instability is particularly challenging. In most cases, diagnostic tools for detecting cervical instability have been inconsistent and lack specificity, and are therefore inadequate. A better understanding of the pathogenesis of cervical instability may better enable practitioners to recognize and treat the condition more effectively. For instance, when cervical instability is related to injury of soft tissue alone and not fracture, the treatment modality should be one that stimulates the involved soft tissue to regenerate and repair itself.
An Overview Of The Nervous System
Nerves extend from the brain into the extremities of the body, leaving the spine to do so; these are called peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves contain millions of nerve fibers which branch out from the spinal cord to every part of the body to make muscles move, to give us our sense of touch, to control cellular responses to heat and cold, and numerous other actions.
What Should You Do
If you are experiencing a heart attack, time is heart muscle, says Dr. Mills.
Most medical centers in the U.S. now have programs that can significantly reduce the damage to your heart. Dont sit at home and wait to see if it goes away.
Though you may believe that the shoulder pain is from a recent incident in the gym, Dr. Charles advises,When this occurs on your left side it can often mimic a heart attack. As a precautionary measure, you should immediately go to the ER and make sure it is not.
Once cleared, you can go to your physical medicine specialist, such as a doctor of chiropractic or osteopathy, and be examined to see if your symptoms are from TOC.
A trip to the ER will get you a blood test that can show if you had a heart attack.
A heart attack damages cardiac muscle, releasing a into the bloodstream which will be detected by the blood test.
If youre cleared from having had a heart attack, you may be also be advised to see a neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of pinched nerves.
An MRI will show nerve compression in the neck.
Dr. Charles has helped thousands of patients and taught over 1,200 doctors during his 30+ years of practice. He has also created the Power Kinetics® Exercise Program and line of nutritional vitamins and performance supplements.
Regenerative Medicine For Neck Pain And Associated Symptoms
The up-and-coming practice of Regenerative Medicine is using a patients own cells to amplify their bodys healing abilities. These forms of therapy work with cells that already exist in the body to help an injury or damage heal. There are two forms of Regenerative Medicine offered at CELLAXYS:
- Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy: this form of therapy begins with a sample of a patients mesenchymal stem cells. These most often come from fat tissue, or bone marrow. Once the stem cells are extracted, they are processed to become more concentrated. They are then reinjected into the site of pain. These cells contain properties that make them ideal for helping to heal an injury or degeneration. A scientific journal about MSC therapy can be found .
- Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy: this form of therapy begins with a simple blood draw, which is then processed using centrifugal force. The purpose of the centrifuge is to separate platelets from other properties found in the blood. Platelets contain proteins and healing factors that occur in the bodys natural healing process. They are injected into the injury site with the premise that an increased number of healing properties could speed up the bodys natural processes. A scientific journal of PRP can be found .
When making the decision on how to manage pain, it is important to be aware of all the options on the market. Regenerative Medicine could be a solution to chronic neck pain.
Is Your Neck Pain Related To Your Jaw Joint
If you have a lot of neck pain and cant figure out why, rather than continually trying to get a diagnosis for a problem you may want to shift your focus to a nearby area of your bodyyour jaw. Estimates vary, but experts say that up to 70% of neck problems may be related to dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint.
These neck problems may come in the form of neck muscle spasm , reduced flexibility , or plain ole pain, which the authors noted at 30%.
And the reverse may be true, as well. The study mentioned above found that poor neck posture may well be a cause of jaw dysfunction and pain.
Ear Pain And Congestion
Ear congestion, ear aches, dizziness, or ringing in the ears can all be traced to TMJ. The over-activity of the jaw can make your ear canal sensitive. When the jaw is misaligned, the muscles and nerves in your ears can be affected causing dizziness, vertigo, ear pain, restricted hearing, sinus pain, and a congested feeling in your ears.
What Caused My Back Pain Or Sciatica
General back pain typically develops as the result of an injury. This can be due to repetitive straining motions, such as leaning down multiple times throughout the day to pick up a toddler, or a more serious, sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident. Underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, can also cause immense pain, and cause radiculopathy pain to the thigh, leg, or foot. Degenerative disc disease is a common condition as we age, which can result in back pain. Those with this condition typically report dull, aching pains in their lower back, and have difficulty with prolonged standing or walking.
Sciaticas technical name is lumbar radiculopathy. People who develop this condition are generally between the ages of 30 and 50. Many different types of injuries can cause the development of sciatica, including, bone spurs, or any other injury that impacts the sciatic nerve. Most commonly, we find that people lose their flexibility in the hips and pelvis, which causes the gluteus and hip muscles to become tightened. This, in turn, alters the mechanics of the spine, and compression to the sciatic nerve as it travels through these tissues.
Functional Examination Of Motion Segments Of The Upper Cervical Spine Is Important In Diagnosing And Treating Vertigo
Why do we find this one sentence so remarkable? Because this one line may be the answer for many of you reading this article. Lets explain.
The researchers suggest that you must examine the motion segments of the upper neck because it is the unresolved vertebral segments that are causing the problems. In our 26+ years of service in treating cervical neck disorders, we have found that many patients who come through our doors do not have an accurate diagnosis or assessment of their situation.
As you can see in the video below, DMX is a motion picture of the bones while a person is moving. It is a dynamic diagnostic tool, versus a static one. The scan is produced in real-time, while the person is moving his/her neck. Pain typically occurs with motion. By being able to see the bones in motion, DMX picks up abnormal or excessive motion whereas MRI, CT scan, and static x-rays do not.