TMJ can cause a host of painful symptoms
With a TMJ disorder, your jaw muscles have to work extra hard to do their job as they are compromised by your misaligned bite. When they tire, they recruit the muscles of your face, head, shoulders, and neck. Eventually, these muscles fatigue as well. The result?
All this overuse causes your muscles to become strained and inflamed. Because your body works as a unit, muscle fatigue can cascade down your body, causing aching, sore muscles in your neck, shoulders and back. It can also affect your posture.
To complicate matters further, close to your jaw lie several large nerves that run to your face, head, neck and shoulders, and down to your hands. This nerves are responsible for initiating movement and perceiving sensations. Strained, tight, overtired muscles can put the squeeze on these nerves sending pain signals to your brain.
This is how a jaw disorder can manifest itself as seemingly unrelated pain in your head, eyes, ears, or even arms or hands.
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A summary of symptoms
Migraines and headaches
- When your jaw muscles are at war with your jaw bones: If your bite is misaligned, its powerful muscles attempt to resolve the issue by pulling your jawbones into a more balanced position. As they overwork, they become fatigued causing stress, strain and pain.
- Cramped muscles: Strained muscles produce lactic acid. As it builds up, your muscles cramp. Called referred pain, the cramping can occur away from the site of the problematic muscle.
- Nerve irritation: Cramped muscles can irritate facial nerves. This unpleasant sensation can be perceived as an electric shock, throbbing, nausea, or pain that moves up and down your face. For this reason, TMJ facial pain is often misdiagnosed as migraine headaches.
Ear and eye pain, congestion, and ringing
Neck , shoulder, and back pain
Numbness and tingling in arms and hands
What’s causing your TMJ symptoms?
While a disorder in your jaw is the ultimate culprit, the cause of disorder needs to be determined before effective treatment can be found. Luckily, neuromuscular dentistry has a host of high-tech diagnostic tools to help get to the root of the problem and find a treatment that can help resolve your symptoms.