For people who suffer from TMJ pain (pain in the joint between the jaw and skull), 38 to 49% of cases are chronic and last for more than 5 years.
And since you need your jaw to eat, breathe, and talk, experiencing ongoing jaw pain can be frustrating. TMJ disorders can lead to missed work and, in some cases, even depression.
But, how do you know if you’re experiencing chronic TMJ pain? Read on to learn about the symptoms and treatment options for this condition.
Symptoms of Chronic TMJ Disorders
Pain in the jaw joint is the most common symptom of a TMJ problem. Since the jaw joint sits in front of the ear, it might also feel like an earache.
If your jaw makes clicking, crackling, popping, or grating sounds when you open your mouth, that can be a sign of TMJ. Inability to open your mouth all the way or even a locked jaw are also signs of a TMJ disorder.
Muscle tension in your face, jaw, or neck is a possible symptom. You may also get a lot of headaches or migraines as a result.
Home Care Treatments for TMJ Disorders
In some cases, stress and teeth grinding can lead to TMJ pain. Luckily, there are some things you can try at home to relieve your pain.
Alternating between hot and cold packs will help relieve swelling and muscle tension in your jaw. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines can also help relieve TMJ pain.
You can also try eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum. Massaging your jaw, temples, and neck muscles can also help relieve pain.
TMJ Treatment Options From a Professional
If you’ve tried home care treatments and haven’t gotten any relief, it might be time to see a TMJ specialist. They will figure out where your pain is coming from in order to prescribe the best treatment.
Physical therapy is often the first step in TMJ treatment. A medical professional may prescribe a set of exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your jaw.
Your TMJ specialist may also prescribe an oral splint. A splint is a type of orthotic and is similar to a nightguard, but is specifically meant to relax the jaw muscles and realign the joint. Many patients feel relief shortly after they begin using an oral splint.
Injections like therapeutic Botox can relieve severe muscle spasms in the jaw joint. It can also improve the flexibility of your jaw.
If you’ve tried the above treatment courses and are still in pain, arthroscopic surgery is a possible treatment. But, it is only used in very severe cases when there is actual damage in the joint.
Make an Appointment With a TMJ Specialist
The pain of a chronic TMJ disorder can add a lot of stress and discomfort to your life. But, the right treatment plan will relieve that pain and make you feel like new again.
Here at the Head Pain Institute, we discover what is causing your pain, and we don’t just cover up your symptoms. We address the cause so you can expect longer-lasting pain relief.
To make an appointment with one of our TMJ Specialists at the Head Pain Institute. call 480-945-3629 today!