We all experience some aches and pains from time to time. It’s simply a necessary inconvenience of life. However, when these aches and pains start to become chronic in nature, it’s typically a sign that you may be suffering from an underlying condition which needs treatment.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be challenging to isolate the cause of your pain. This is often true with TMJ, a condition which occurs when your jaw becomes misaligned. Your jaw is one of your most complex joints, and when it doesn’t function properly, it can impact many different regions of your body. As a result, many people don’t necessarily recognize that their pain may be caused by a dental issue.
TMJ Symptoms can Be Hard to Recognize
It’s important to understand that no two individuals experience the exact same TMJ symptoms, and often the pain associated with TMJ isn’t located in your jaw. Due to the varied nature of TMJ symptoms, it can often be difficult to properly diagnose the condition, even for doctors. For this reason, your best hope for relief often lies with your dentist, but not just any dentist: a neuromuscular dentist is trained in diagnosing and treating TMJ.
When your jaw joint becomes misaligned, it impacts your face, jaw, neck, shoulders, and back. In addition, it’s common for TMJ to aggravate your craniofacial nerves, resulting in painful headaches including migraines.
Are My Symptoms Related to TMJ?
The list of TMJ symptoms is long and diverse. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it’s possible that your pain is due to TMJ. The best way to conclusively determine whether you suffer from TMJ is to visit Dr. Siegel for a comprehensive diagnostic exam.
Common jaw issues associated with TMJ include:
- Jaw pain
- Clicking or popping sound in your jaw joint
- Limited jaw mobility
- Difficulty resting teeth naturally when your mouth is closed
- Muscle spasms in the jaw region
- Locking of the jaw joint
- Jaw moves to one side when you open your mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Uneven bite
TMJ can also result in serious facial pain. Common symptoms associated with head pain include:
- Severe headaches – these may feel like migraines, cluster headaches, or sinus headaches
- Forehead pain
- Facial swelling
- Facial pain
- Scalp that is sensitive to touch
You may also experience symptoms that seem related to an ear issue. These include:
- Balance issues
- Ear aches
- Ear pain without any sign of infection
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Hearing problems
- Clogged, “stuffy” ears
Throat issues commonly caused by TMJ include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore throat without any sign of infection
- Tightness in the throat
- Tongue pain
Since your jaw joint is connected to your neck and shoulders, you may also experience the following symptoms:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Tingling or numbness in your arms and fingers