Thursday, August 11, 2022

Can Tmj Cause Neck Pain

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Causes To Tmj Disorder

In order to effectively treat TMJ disorder, its important for us to determine the underlying cause whenever possible. While treating the symptoms can bring temporary relief, its only by treating the cause of TMJ disorder that we can come up with a lasting solution. Reasons for TMJ pain include:

  • Facial trauma or other injury to the temporomandibular joint
  • Arthritis
  • Congenital birth defects or other structural problems with the jaw
  • Teeth grinding and jaw clenching
  • Erosion of the joint

Tmj Exercises For Tmj Symptom Relief

TMJ exercises can relieve symptoms and may reduce the recurrence of TMJ pain and TMJ headaches.

Your TMJ specialist can work with you to create a treatment plan to find TMJ headache relief. Exercises are often a key component of treatment and with persistence and regular practice can provide significant relief.

TMJ exercises stretch and relax the jaw, may reduce clicking and improve range of motion.

There are multiple videos for TMJ exercises available. See Bob and Brads YouTube video of TMJ exercises below. They have a great channel for different physical therapy exercises. This will get you started!

Treatment For Your Tmj

Though its possible for a TMD to go away on its own, taking a chance on no treatment could be a gamble that destroys your life. Even if you think your TMD is mild, we recommend having it checked out just in case.

For persistent and serious TMDs, we can help relieve your discomfort and improve the condition of your jaw. Our treatments include:

  • Muscle relaxers Relaxing the muscles of your face, neck, and shoulders can help to limit muscle spasms and improve the condition of your jaw.
  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories Though over-the-counter pain relief can help, sometimes it isnt enough. If youre still in pain, we may be able to provide relief for discomfort and swelling.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants Antidepressants are usually prescribed to people who have depression, but a low dosage can also help with pain, controlling teeth grinding and clenching, and tiredness.
  • Therapy exercises We can also help by teaching you some therapy exercises and recommend physical therapy for strengthening your joint.
  • Oral splints Oral splints can protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep, reducing your symptoms of TMD.
  • Surgery When all other options have been exhausted, we may consider surgery to correct your jaw joint.

Connection Between Tmj And Neck Pain

If you have chronic neck pain, it’s possible that you have TMD, as the neck and jaw structures are connected.

A study published in BioMed Research International observed that tender points in the neck are often seen in people with TMD. In fact, pain in the neck region was found to be associated with TMD 70% of the time. While one condition doesn’t necessarily cause the other, the study found that as the level of neck disability increases, so does the level of jaw disability.

A study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation verified the correlation between TMD and neck pain in women who work with computers. It noted that neck pain is one of the most common complaints among people working with computers all day. Compared with women who reported no neck pain, women who had neck pain were more likely to also exhibit evidence of TMD.

The TMJA also notes that musicians who hold musical instruments close to their neck, such as violinists, may also be susceptible to TMD because of the positioning of their head and neck. Ultimately, patients should assess workplace conditions to minimize any neck or TMD problems.

Your Headaches Get Worse After Eating Talking Or Yawning

TMJ Calgary NW

While most of us do a lot of talking, eating and yawning on a daily basis as a part of normal life, for a sufferer of TMJ these activities can be fraught with pain and often bring the onset of .

The reason for this is that these activities require a lot of jaw movement which can exacerbate the pain and inflammation in the temporomandibular joint.

This joint actually acts as the hinge on our jaw, which allows the jaw to open and close so every time we open or close the jaw to eat, talk or yawn, we are using the joint.

In acute TMJ, even normal usage of the joint can cause pain, inflammation and headaches due to the joint damage, and one of the most important things to do when suffering from TMJ initially is to limit talking, chewing and yawning by choosing soft foods, avoiding gum and resting the jaw from excess talking and yawning where possible.

If you find that your headaches worsen after performing the daily activities of eating, talking and yawning, then it may be beneficial to investigate the possibility of TMJ.

What Causes Tmj Pain

Temporomandibular joint disorder is a disorder that involves the temporomandibular joint. This sliding joint connects the lower jaw with your skull at a point right in front of each ear. The temporomandibular joint allows us to eat, talk, yawn, and otherwise open our mouths. TMJ results when this joint becomes inflamed and unable to function in the normal range of motion without pain.

The four major causes of TMJ include the following.

What Are Risk Factors For Tmj Syndrome

Ongoing studies conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research , part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, are focused on evaluating risk factors for TMJ syndrome in healthy individuals. Initial results have identified a group of physiological, psychological, sensory, and genetic and nervous system factors that may increase the risk of developing TMJ syndrome. New findings will allow us to better understand the onset and progression of TMJ syndrome. Furthermore, novel ways to diagnose and treat the condition can be developed. Below are some risk factors that have been identified:

Gender: Women are at higher risk of developing TMJ syndrome compared to men. Additionally, there may be differences in how women and men respond to pain and to pain medications.

Age: Studies of individuals between the ages of 18-44 show that the risk to develop TMJ conditions increases for women. This has been noted especially for women during their childbearing years. For men ages 18-44, there was no increased risk.

Pain tolerance: Studies suggest that people who are more sensitive to mildly painful stimuli have an increased risk of developing TMJ syndrome.

Genetics: There is some indication that genes related to response, psychological health, and inflammation may increase the risk for TMJ syndrome.

Chronic pain: Those who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain and headaches may be at increased risk for TMJ syndrome.

We Can Relieve Your Pain

Living with a clicking jaw that causes pain every time you want to eat or speak is no way to live. Its time to find a solution to your jaw pain, and we can help. 

To learn more about how we can help you, call our office at 948-5111 to speak with us. You can also send us a message through our online contact form to chat with us.


Home Treatments For Tmd

There are things you can do on your own to help relieve TMD symptoms. Your doctor may suggest you try some of these remedies together.

Take over-the-counter . Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like or , can relieve muscle pain and swelling.

Use moist heat or cold packs. Apply an ice pack to the side of your face and temple area for about 10 minutes. Do a few simple jaw stretches . When youâre done, hold a warm towel or washcloth to the side of your face for about 5 minutes. Perform this routine a few times each day.

Eat soft foods. Add yogurt, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, soup, scrambled eggs, fish, cooked fruits and vegetables, beans, and grains to your menu. Cut foods into small pieces so you chew less. Skip hard, crunchy foods , chewy foods , and thick or large bites that require you to open wide.

Avoid extreme jaw movements. Keep yawning and chewing to a minimum and donât yell, sing, or do anything that forces you to open wide.

Don’t rest your chin on your hand. Donât hold the phone between your and ear. Practice good posture to reduce neck and facial pain.

Keep your teeth slightly apart as often as you can. This will relieve pressure on your jaw. Put your between your teeth to control clenching or grinding during the day.

Learn relaxation techniques to help loosen up your jaw. Ask your dentist if you need physical therapy or . Consider stress reduction therapy as well as .

Do I Have Tmj Disorder

If, after reading through this guide, you think you may be suffering from TMJ, you should schedule an immediate trip to the dentist to be evaluated and diagnosed. The sooner you get an appointment, the sooner you can begin treating your TMD symptoms.

Williams Square Dental has lots of experience treating patients with TMJ in the Las Colinas, Irving, and surrounding area. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Tmj Headache And Migraine

TMJ headache and migraine is another common symptom of this disorder.

The connection of TMJ and headaches starts at the muscle in the jaw that surrounds the temporomandibular joint, the temporalis muscle. The temporalis muscle is a fan-shaped muscle on the side of the skull. It originates at the temporal bone and then circles under the cheek bone to attach to the mandible. This muscle, when taxed, can cause pain that is similar to a tension headache.

Another factor in TMJ headaches is the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve enervates the face and jaw, originating just above the mandible in front of the ear. Typical movements that would cause TMJ can cause the trigeminal nerve to release chemicals that produce swelling in the brain and sinus cavity, causing migraines.

Symptoms of TMJ headache or migraine are, of course, head pain. In addition, sufferers may experience other symptoms of migraine that can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light

Understanding The Trigeminal Nerve

If one looks at the nervous system and compares it using an analogy to electrical wiring in a house, it is easier to understand these complex mechanisms. When you blow a fuse or circuit breaker it is usually the overloaded circuit that blows i.e. you plug in the toaster and the microwave at the same time and you blow a fuse. Everything on that circuit no longer works correctly. If you unplug either the toaster or the microwave all other symptoms function normally. So it is with the trigeminal nerve; it is the largest fuse to our brain carrying over 50% of the total input to our brain when it blows we get migraines, tension headaches, TMJ pain, ear aches, stuffy ears, and more.

If we unplug some of the input via neuromuscular dentistry then the entire system functions normally and healing results.

The TMJ is closely associated with the trigeminal nerve, which innervates approximately 40 percent of the head and face. This nerve has three branches and is involved with the following functions:

  • Chewing functions of upper and lower jaw
  • Swallowing

Exercises For Tmj Relief

TMJ Pain  Forney, Mesquite, TX

Physical therapy can help to relieve your jaw pain as well as other symptoms by stretching and strengthening your jaw muscles. 

At-home stretches and massages are a great way to relax your jaw muscles and treat pain throughout the day. If your jaw is bothering you, learning a few quick exercises can be an on-the-go relief.

Acupuncture has been shown to help with disorders such as back and knee pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis. Though it may not be for everyone, it may be able to relieve some of your symptoms.

Relaxation techniques can reduce your bodily tension, especially in the areas that affect your TMJ. Learning to relax your muscles through meditation or other means can help to reduce your symptoms.

How Can I Relieve Tmj Pain

Common TMJ pain treatments begin by diagnosing the underlying cause of pain. For example, if arthritis is present, that condition will also be treated in conjunction with treating symptoms of TMJ.

When a TMJ flare up begins, the following can help you find TMJ pain relief:

  • Change your diet: Soft foods can ease the pain in the jaw and other parts of your body
  • Manage stress: To help eliminate bruxism, which is a catalyst for all types of TMJ pain
  • Apply ice for swelling in the jaw and heat for muscle soreness or headache
  • Use a TMJ mouth guard
  • Explore alternatives: Trigger-point injections, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation , and low-level laser therapy for pain and inflammation of all kinds can help with your pain

In rare cases, TMJ surgery may be necessary.

If you are experiencing TMJ pain of any kind, give AZ Dentist a call. We can work with you to find the best approach to treating your TMJ.

AZ Dentist

Symptoms Arent Always Jaw Pain

  • Jaw  pain, mild to severe -typically most common in the morning or early afternoon due to nighttime grinding
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the eyes, face, shoulder, neck, back
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears/tinnitus
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Limited mouth motion-inability to open the mouth completely
  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitive teeth without oral health disease
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome

Temporomandibular joint syndrome is a pain in the jaw joint that can be caused by a variety of medical problems. The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull in front of the ear. Certain facial muscles that control chewing are also attached to the lower jaw. Problems in this area can cause head and neck pain, facial pain, ear pain, , a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open, problems with biting, and jaw clicking or popping sounds when you bite. The temporomandibular joint syndrome is also referred to as the temporomandibular joint disorder. Overall, more women than men have TMJ syndrome.

The TMJ is comprised of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. You have two TMJs, one on each side of your jaw.

Muscles involved in chewing also open and close the mouth. The jawbone itself, controlled by the TMJ, has two movements: rotation or hinge action, which is opening and closing of the mouth, and gliding action, a movement that allows the mouth to open wider. The coordination of this action also allows you to talk, chew, and yawn.

Correlation Between Level Of Muscle Tenderness Of Masticatory And Cervical Muscles And Jaw Dysfunction And Neck Disability

Several studies examined the presence of signs and symptoms in the cervical area of patients suffering with TMD and they have been showing that the presence of tender points in the cervical area of TMD’s patients is quite common, which is in line with the findings of this study . Both upper trapezius and temporalis muscles had a moderate correlation with jaw dysfunction and neck disability. This finding indicates that increased levels of tenderness in these two muscles were related to higher levels of dysfunction in patients having TMD with concurrent neck disability. Therefore, assessing temporalis and upper trapezius muscles in patients with TMD and concurrent neck disability may allow physical therapists to have a better understanding of the level of dysfunction of these patients and to consider the need of managing these patients as a whole. However, although these results show a trend, moderate correlations just indicate association between levels of dysfunction in patients having TMD and concurrent neck disability with levels of muscle tenderness in both upper trapezius and temporalis muscles .

How Is My Brain Involved

Your brain is a marvel.  It controls your body and your mind, including the proper function of every organ system, stress levels, pain levels, and overall mental health.  To excel at its job, your brain relies on a tightly woven web of nerves that covers your entire body.  The base of the skull is a critical place for your brain:  along with the spinal cord, a massive nerve that runs through your spine, your brain employs a series of large nerves that pass through holes in your skull.   If a problem exists in your upper spineespecially near the skullyour brain is not receiving or sending all the signals it needs to work in your bodys best interests.   In effect, the information highway between your brain and your body has a road block. This then causes the imbalances in the bones, muscles, and nerves related to your TMJ.

Why Does Dizziness Accompany Tmj Disorders

Dizziness may occur if you have any TMJ disorder. It is an irregular symptom that originates from the jaw area. In reality, the inflammation around the TMJ travels from the jaw area. From that region, it spreads into the ear as it is less than an inch away from the jaw. When the inflammation travels toward the middle or inner part of the ear, it affects your sense of balance and hearing. Delicate and sensitive structures within each ear take care of your knowledge of position with your surroundings. When this part becomes swollen, then imbalance or dizziness may occur. Sometimes, even vertigo.

Other conditions that can cause disorder of the TMJ and dizziness are infections. Whether the infection is in the ear, mouth or salivary glands, it can result in inflammation, pain, swelling and dizziness simultaneously. In the absence of fever and other infectious symptoms, and with a normal examination of the mouth and ear, TMJ becomes more likely the diagnosis. Likewise, if jaw popping, clicking or misalignment exists, TMJ diagnosis is likely.

Joint Deterioration Due To Arthritis

The temporomandibular joint is a joint after all, so some of the same conditions that affect other joints in the body can affect this one, too. Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear form of arthritis that occurs over time. A lifetime of eating and talking can take its toll on the temporomandibular joint, grinding away the connective tissue until it becomes inflamed.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can cause TMJ at any age. TMJ may also be related to other inflammatory conditions, like fibromyalgia.

The Underlying Cause Of Tmj Dysfunction May Be In The Neck

How to reduce TMJ pain throughout the day at home ...

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint connects the jaw to the head and, therefore, is responsible for any type of jaw movement like talking and chewing. A problem with this joint can lead to pain in the jaw and face, popping and cracking sounds when using the jaw, and a range of other symptoms. Surprisingly to some, the neck may be the underlying . How so?

If one of the bones of the upper neck the C1 or C2 vertebra is out of alignment, it can be causing the problems associated with TMJ. In fact, TMJ and neck pain often exist together. However, a misalignment of the bones of the neck does not necessarily result in neck pain. Thus, an adjustment may do more good than one realizes.

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and TMJ, download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

Table of Contents

What Causes Tmj Syndrome

TMJ syndrome can be caused by, disease, wear and tear due to , or oral habits.

  • : Like other joints in the body, the jaw joint is prone to arthritic changes. These changes are sometimes caused by the breakdown of the joint or the usual wear and tear of normal . The degenerative joint disease causes a slowly progressive loss of cartilage and formation of new bone at the surface of the joint. Cartilage destruction is a result of several mechanical and biological factors rather than a single entity. Its prevalence increases with repetitive microtrauma or microtrauma, as well as with normal aging. Immunologic and inflammatory diseases contribute to the progression of the disease.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in joints and can affect the TMJ. As it progresses, the disease can cause the destruction of cartilage, erode bone, and eventually cause joint deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It causes disease in a variety of organs with features of persistent joint inflammation. It occasionally affects the TMJ, especially in young children.
  • Other causes of TMJ syndrome include infection of the joint, , and bone deformity that occurs at birth.
    • ADHD Symptoms in Children?

      What Is Tmj Disorder

      Although people often refer to TMJ disorder as TMJ, this abbreviation is for the joint that causes the painthe temporomandibular joint. When this joint is causing pain or not functioning properly, the condition is known as TMJ disorder, also known as TMD or TMJD.

      Its believed that around 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ pain. Although the joint in question is quite small, it can cause a tremendous amount of pain. The TMJ acts as a sliding hinge that connects the jaw to the skull. Think about how many times a day you eat, open your mouth, speak, yawnwhen your TMJ is dysfunctional, each of those movements can cause the joint to become aggravated and painful.

      Tmj Is The More Common Term But Tmd Is The Official Terminology

      Temporomandibular disorders, abbreviated TMD, refer to any dysfunction in the joint itself. TMJ is the abbreviation for the joint itself. The terms TMJ and TMD are often used interchangeably.

      The correct medical terminology for problems at the joint is TMD. Because the term most familiar to readers is TMJ,  I will use TMJ  in this article. But your doctor may use the term TMD.

      The causes of TMJ pain and TMD can be complicated. All joints are constructed with bone, muscles, and tendons. Being free from pain is dependent on all these components working correctly and eliminating inflammation.  Issues with any part of the mechanics can result in problems.

      Tmj Cause #3: Bruxism Or Jaw Clenching

      “Bruxism” refers to excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding. It is a nature body reaction to threat, part of the sympathetic reaction, controlled by brain. 

      Constant and chronic jaw clenching and teeth grinding will result in tight and spastic masseter and temporalis muscles. This tightness may create excessive compression and pressure inside the TMJ joint, leading to inflammation and pain. These tight muscles will also limit jaw movement and prevent your mouth from opening fully. Both jaws are equally affected normally. Facial soreness may get worse during evening hours.

      Treatment: TMJ massage therapy can help by releasing the tense mastication muscle and provide pain and stress relief. However, you will need to call around to find a massage therapist who is specialized in intraoral release to receive the most targeted treatment.

      Other effective treatments include a nightly mouth guard and self jaw muscle stretching exercises. You can also work on breaking the jaw clenching habit by pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth when you catch yourself clenching.

      Based on your personal preference, you can also use aromatherapy, tapping or other meditation techniques to keep your stress level under control.

      What Is The Atlas Why Do I Care

      The atlas is the topmost bone in your spine.  It sits right under the base of your skull.  This amazing joint is a gymnast, allowing your head to twist and turn in a multitude of ways.  Unfortunately, the atlas was designed for grace, not stability.   It can easily become misaligned, causing trouble for both the brain and the body.

      Erosion In The Disc That Cushions The Joint

      If you are a person in the habit of eating sticky, hard foods , you are working your temporomandibular joint overtime!

      Sure, this joint is designed for a lifetime of wear, but if stressed like any other joint, the disc that cushions and softens movement can begin to erode over time, making movement painful.

      What Are The Symptoms

      TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort. It can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face. More women than men have it, and itâs most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.


      Common symptoms include:


      • Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your wide
      • Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
      • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
      • A tired feeling in your face
      • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower are not fitting together properly. Learn more about the pros and cons of teeth alignment surgery.
      • Swelling on the side of your face



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