How TMJ Disorder Can Affect Your Memory

Chronic pain makes everyday life a challenge in many ways. Aside from inflicting never-ending discomfort, it can also make it difficult for people to lead enriching and enjoyable personal, professional, and social lives. It is practically impossible to perform at work when you are coping with chronic pain. Likewise, it is hard to enjoy social situations and fulfill relationship obligations when your thoughts are being dominated by pain. Furthermore, new research has revealed that chronic pain may also have the ability to impair our memory.

TMJ and Brain Function

Memory problems have been associated with chronic pain for decades in the healthcare industry.  Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, a recent study from Portugal may have discovered the reason behind this link. The study showed that chronic pain has the ability to inhibit normal cognitive function by interfering with how our brain regions work together to store and preserve short-term memories. The researchers used rats to demonstrate that relentless pain can “overwhelm” critical brain regions that function to create memories. In the end, the pain experienced by the rats resulted in them under-performing in mazes that required memory recall. Many people refer to the inability to think clearly as “brain fog”. This study showed that chronic pain can impair cognitive function. TMJ disorders may result in chronic migraines and headaches, which can cause brain fog and affect one’s memory.

Neurological Problems

According to another recent study, TMJ can cause a variety of neuromuscular and neurologic disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Torticollis, and issues with balance or gait.  The study concluded that some patients with neurological disorders also had TMJ disorders. As such, treating TMD can help alleviate some of the symptoms arising from neurological disorders.

TMJ and Memory

TMJ disorder can be a source of many different and persistent symptoms, including facial swelling or tenderness, difficulties chewing, swallowing, or talking, jaw clicking, and tinnitus. That being said, this frustrating and aggravating condition also leads to chronic headaches and pain in the neck, jaw, and/or ear that can drastically alter a person’s quality of life for the worse. New studies have indicated that TMJ-related pain has the potential to cause lapses in memory and memory loss, which may lead to serious consequences. After all, forgetting where you left a personal item is one thing; forgetting key work-related details or missing a doctor’s appointment is way more consequential.

Combat TMJ Disorder with Head Pain Institute

If you are experiencing chronic pain, headaches, or discomfort caused by TMJ or TMD, look no further than Head Pain Institute. As the leading providers for the treatment of TMJ/TMD disorders, head, neck, and ear pain, and sleep apnea in the United States, we are committed to using the best evidence-based diagnosis and pain management treatment methods with high success rates for you, no matter how complex or hard to detect your condition is. Reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.