How You Can Make TMJ Pain Go Away
Imagine a day that goes something like this …
You wake up with another headache. This has been happening for several weeks now. Some mornings the headaches are worse than others, but you have been taking a few pain relievers. Usually, you feel at least a little better by the time you get out of the shower.
You fix some bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast. The problem is that about halfway through, your jaw starts to feel sore. You finish the eggs but leave the rest.
About midway through the morning, your boss asks if you can finish a report early. He wants you to present it at a meeting after lunch.
This was stress you were not expecting to deal with today. Not long after that, you feel pain in your face and neck.
When your coworkers invite you to lunch, you use the report as an excuse to not join them. The truth is you don’t feel like you could eat much of anything with the way your face feels.
Any or all of those symptoms could indicate a TMJ disorder. If you can relate to the headaches, jaw pain, and other pains, we encourage you to visit our dentist office in Snellville, GA, for an examination.
If you are having a jaw problem, Parkway Dental wants to help.
Stress And TMJ Problems
It may not seem apparent, but the stress you are feeling at work, at home, or anywhere else may be a factor in your TMJ disorder.
Bruxism, which is clenching or grinding teeth, can be a way that we cope with stress subconsciously. In fact, millions of Americans do this in their sleep, which would help to explain frequent morning headaches or jaw pain.
When you grind your teeth together, you are putting added pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) as well as the muscles and ligaments connected to that joint.
How much pressure? About twice as much as is considered normal.
The average person bites with between 200 and 250 pounds of force. Studies have shown that people who grind their teeth are likely to generate 500 pounds of force. (In some rare cases, it can be considerably higher than that, too.)
Whether you are aware of your teeth grinding or not, the effect is the same. This can explain a number of symptoms that you may be dealing with:
- jaw pain
- face, neck, and shoulder pain
- problems moving your jaw
- clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing your jaw
If you have noticed that you are having one or more of these issues on a regular basis, then it may be time to talk to someone about how you can treat this problem.
Bruxism is just one of the factors that may be affecting your TMJ.
Arthritis, illnesses, infections, and jaw alignment are other issues that could be contributing to your jaw problems.
It’s also possible that you are dealing with more than one cause at the same time.
If your problems are minor, you may be able to take steps to address the situation on your own.
For some people, finding new ways to relieve stress can be important. Some people have success with breathing techniques, meditation, and exercise.
Pain relievers can provide temporary relief. So can moist heat, which also can help with jaw mobility, and cold packs, which could reduce swelling.
If your home treatments aren’t effective, then you really should seek outside help.
What Dentists Can Do
The first step is to let one of our dentists examine your jaw. We will discuss your symptoms and possible causes, including teeth grinding and alignment issues.
One of the effective treatments for patients who do grind their teeth is an occlusal guard. This is a kind of mouthpiece that you can wear in your sleep. When it’s in place, it can alleviate the pressure on your jaw by preventing you from grinding your teeth together.
In a way, it also provides a kind of physical therapy. As you get used to wearing it, your resting jaw position may change as well.
The end result is you should notice fewer headaches and other pains associated with TMJ disorders.
Ready To Stop Your Headaches?
You don’t have to continue waking up to painful headaches every morning. The dentists at Parkway Dental have helped numerous patients in and around Snellville, GA, with similar concerns.