2023 has finally begun, and many of us are on our way to achieving lofty New Year’s resolutions. It typically includes getting healthier, and if you suffer from TMJ (temporomandibular joints), you are probably hoping to finally get help managing your symptoms and finding much-needed relief.
It’s important because constantly being in pain is a quick way to become anxious and depressed, and in the case of TMJ, anxiety can worsen your symptoms if you are continually grinding and clenching your jaw. Over time, this repeated action will wear down your TMJ joints, basically those sliding hinges on each side of your jaw that connect your jawbone to your skull. We have some solutions to help you finally get your TMJ pain under control.
What’s Causing Your TMJ Pain?
It’s most often not one single issue that is giving you TMJ trouble. More than likely, it is a combination of different causes. Here are some ways you can end up experiencing TMJ pain:
- Wear and tear leading to erosion of the disk cartilage in the joints
- Issues with the connective tissue
- Problems with your jaw muscles
- Cancer or tumors in the joint or mouth
- Constant leaning on your chin
- Your family tree
- Arthritis (rheumatoid or osteoarthritis)
- Injury to the jaw
- Bruxism (jaw clenching or teeth grinding)
One thing to consider is that TMJ pain can typically be managed and is often only temporary. If that is the case with your TMJ issues, you can sometimes relieve them by practicing healthy self-managed care. If you are worried about needing surgery, please keep in mind that is most often a treatment of last resort after trying other ways to manage your TMJ.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Pain in either or both temporomandibular joints
- Pain or earache around your ear
- Problems chewing
- Facial aches
- Jaw joints locking up, making it hard to open or close your mouth
- Clicking or grating sounds when you open your mouth or chew (it’s probably not serious as long as you don’t feel pain or limited movement in your jaw)
Managing your TMJ
Stress is one of those things many people seem to struggle with during these challenging times. This makes you tense your jaw muscles and grind your teeth, worsening your TMJ symptoms. Take some time every day to practice a calming activity. Just 5-10 daily minutes can help calm your nerves. Meditation, yoga, gentle stretches, hot baths, reading, and journaling are all ways to relax. Practicing your favorite for a few minutes every day can ease your jaw as you relax into those moments.
Getting your health checked with a wellness exam can also rule out infections, chronic headaches, hormonal imbalances, IBS and fibromyalgia that could be aggravating TMJ pain.
Consume TMJ-Friendly food. Set a goal to discover some TMJ-friendly dishes. Learning a new recipe every month can help support your TMJ health.
Gently stretch your jaw muscles. We can help you with that so you can regularly use massage and stretching to strengthen your jaw areas at home.
Our TMJ specialists are knowledgeable about TMJ disorders. We have helped many people, just like you, find jaw pain relief. While TMD is complex and highly specialized, we are trained and equipped to properly diagnose the cause of your TMJ pain and then correctly manage it. There’s no better time than the new year to set healthy goals and get the care your jaw needs!