TMJ disorder can throw your everyday life into disarray.
The pain from this condition can spread throughout your mouth, down to your shoulders and cause problems with sleeping, eating, focusing on tasks and more.
Learn more about what causes TMJ disorder symptoms and what you can do to resolve your condition.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joints consist of a disc, ball and socket on either side of your mouth that connect your jaw to your skull. The muscles and ligaments work together to support your jaw while you chew, swallow and talk.
The joint can stop working properly for many reasons. Arthritis could cause inflammation in the area. If you suffer a facial trauma, the impact could have dislocated your jaw, triggering TMJ problems. If you already have an issue with grinding your teeth while you sleep, this constant pressure could put stress on the joint and lead to irregular function.
Do You Have These Symptoms?
One of the first indications you are suffering from TMJ disorder is pain in the jaw. You may feel a dull ache that radiates throughout the area, or you could feel sharp discomfort when you move your joint in a certain way.
Your jaw also could click when it opens and shuts, or it might lock altogether. You probably will have pain or popping sounds in your ears; stiffness in your jaw, head and shoulders; and a headache.
Could it Be Causing Sleep Apnea?
Besides the general discomfort that may lead to sleeplessness, the condition also could be contributing to more serious sleep problems, like sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing multiple times every night, cutting off oxygen to your body and brain. Your body regains enough consciousness to jumpstart breathing once again, so you never achieve the restorative rest your body needs.
One of the main causes of sleep apnea is collapse of the soft tissues in the back of the throat during sleep. If you have TMJ disorder, this could be a contributing factor. When your jaw is misaligned, blockages are more likely to happen.
Treatment Can Change Your Life
If left untreated, TMJ disorder and sleep apnea can have drastic negative effects on your health, both in the present and in the future. Alone, the pain from TMJ problems can become debilitating. If it is accompanied by a lack of restful sleep, it can contribute to weight gain and depression.
It is important to see a professional and learn about your treatment options. Some patients find relief from simple stretching exercises designed to relax and loosen the jaw. Other patients see a reduction in symptoms when they use prescribed muscle relaxants and pain medication to minimize discomfort.
If you’ve suffered an injury to the joint, you also may benefit from a complete joint replacement to address structural issues.
If you are having pain in your temporomandibular joints, contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for a free consultation. We can recommend the best course of action to relieve pain from TMJ disorder and improve your quality of life.