The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connecting your jaw and skull aids in essential functions such as speaking, chewing, and swallowing. When your TMJ malfunctions, you may experience mild to severe pain. Dizziness is one of the symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) in the joint or surrounding area that should be taken seriously. Learn more about TMJ dizziness in this article.
Learn about the connection between TMD and dizziness, as well as how to stop it.
What Is the Relationship Between TMJ and Dizziness?
TMJ disorder patients may experience dizziness or an unpleasant whirling sensation known as vertigo. Typical vertigo symptoms include:
- Disorientation of the mind
- The perception that things are moving
- Fear of falling
- Balance is difficult to achieve
- Nausea and vomiting (in stressful situations)
These symptoms are related to the vestibular system, which consists of the inner ear and nervous system components that help control balance and eye movements. Sensors in the inner ear monitor your physical position in space as well as your body’s response to gravity. These sensors send signals to the brain’s vestibular nuclei, which alert the eye muscles, legs, and arms to make the necessary adjustments to stay upright and balanced.
When these signals are hampered or incorrectly transmitted, the body’s adjustments are insufficient, resulting in difficulty balancing. Although the relationship between TMDs and otological symptoms such as vertigo is not fully understood, some explain the correlation by the middle and inner ear’s anatomical and structural proximity. Inflammation in the TMJ region may affect the vestibular nuclei and disrupt signals, putting patients with TMD off-balance.
How to Get Rid of TMJ Dizziness
Unless you have an obvious injury or trauma to the jaw, determining the exact causes of your TMJ dysfunction can be difficult. Begin by making a list of all your symptoms to take to your primary care physician or dentist. This list will assist your doctor in determining whether TMD is the source of your dizziness. Other signs that you may have TMD include:
- Tenderness and discomfort
- You may hear popping or grating sounds while moving jaws
- Having trouble opening and closing your jaw
- A clicking sound just in front of your ears, near the condyles
The doctor will examine your jaw, the joint, and the surrounding muscles for pain and will look for sounds while moving the joint. X-rays are required if there is an underlying issue that affects your jaw.
Unless you are in excruciating pain, try some self-care strategies at home to alleviate your TMJ dizziness. Begin by directly addressing any TMJ pain or problems, such as applying a heat or ice pack to the affected jaw area at regular intervals. Eat soft foods and avoid extreme movements such as talking loudly, yawning widely, or chewing gum to allow the joint to rest. OTC medications can also help reduce inflammation and they can help with vertigo or dizziness. Relaxing and avoiding stress can help reduce dizziness too. OTC medications are also available to
In the worst-case scenario, your TMJ disorder and dizziness put you at risk of falling and injuring yourself while you’re off-balance. Aside from that, dizziness is only a symptom. A specialist in head and face pain diagnosis and treatment can diagnose the source of your TMD, and devise treatment strategies.