Can Exercise Help Reduce TMJ Symptoms?

Can Exercise Help Reduce TMJ Symptoms?

If you are a sufferer of Temporomandibular joint disorder, it may be worth your while to look into posture training and exercise to deal with TMJ disorder. According to some TMJ experts, your posture could be the sole culprit for your jaw pain and there is a fairly easy way to alleviate symptoms.

What is TMJ Disorder?

Your Temporomandibular joint is the joint in your jaw that connects the mandible (the bone of the lower jaw) to the temporal bones of the skull on either side of the head. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in the face muscles
  • Grinding and clicking of the jaw
  • Stiffness of the jaw muscles
  • Locking of the jaw.

The disorder can range from a slight nuisance to severely debilitating, as it can impact your ability to eat, breathe, talk, and sleep. Approxamitely 12 percent of the population suffers from a TMJ disorder at any given time.

Treatments

  • Common treatments for TMJ disorder include:
  • Pain medications
  • Stabilization splint or bite guard
  • Orthodontic treatments
  • Crown or bridge work
  • Injections
  • Surgery

But, other easier options may be a possibility.

Exercise and Posture for TMJ Disorders

From an alignment perspective, the human head should be sitting directly on top of the shoulders. When the head is not sitting in it’s intended position, it strains the surrounding muscles – however, the muscles in the TMJ joint were not intended for heavy lifting. When they are given the added task of holding up your head, they go into “lock down” and the jaw looses its ability to move freely.

To restore correct posture, exercises can be used that may end up helping with TMJ pain. Keeping up with routine and posture stretches daily may help to combat your TMJ pain. To start, try standing against a wall with your heels and hips touching the wall. Does your head easily and naturally touch the wall too? Or do you have to put effort into putting your head back? If the latter is true, you may need to see a professional who can help you come up with an exercise plan to combat your TMJ symptoms.

TMJ and Fixing Neck Pain

TMJ and Fixing Neck Pain

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) joint disorder may be an underlying cause of your unexplained neck pain. These disorders are often overlooked when trying to analyze neck pain, but they can be the main culprit.

When the jaw becomes dislocated, the surrounding muscles go into spasm – including the neck muscles. Symptoms of TMJ disorders can include neck pain, stiffness, wry neck, numbness in the neck, inability to turn the head to one or both sides, joint sounds during neck movement, and arthritis in the neck.

Neck pain from TMJ can be caused by degeneration of muscles, ligaments, and bone, or from congenital abnormalities in the joint. Disorders that include hypermobility can also lead to jaw dislocations and damage to the bone and ligament of the jaw. The muscles controlling the movement of the jaw can also cause neck pain by pulling the TMJ out of position and causing the joint to move incorrectly.

The muscles in your body work as a team – when the muscles in your jaw are not moving or working correctly, they can negatively effect the surrounding muscles such as those in your neck. The bones in your neck, especially the atlas and axis, are very involved with the muscles that are used for chewing, biting, talking, breathing, and head posture. If sore, tight muscles in the jaw are causing a tilt in the head and shoulders – the neck will compensate for that.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms along with your neck pain, it may be worthwhile to see your dentist to check for TMJ disorders:

  • Clicking jaw noises;
  • Facial pain;
  • Jaw pain;
  • Tinnitus;
  • Headaches;
  • Tooth Sensitivity or Pain.

If you are experiencing neck pain and haven’t been able to get an answer to explain it, it may be worth looking into TMJ disorders to see if this may be causing your neck pain. The fix may be TMJ treatment.

Understanding Acute vs Chronic Pain

Understanding Acute vs Chronic Pain

Pain is a natural body response which causes an uncomfortable or unpleasant feeling – often alerting the person that something is wrong. Each individual has a unique threshold for pain, and therefore each person is the best judge of his or her own pain.

 

What is acute pain?

Acute pain typically comes on suddenly and is caused by something specific. Acute pain is often described as a sharp pain, and usually does not last longer than 6 months. Acute pain diminishes completely when the underlying cause of the pain is gone.

 

Causes of acute pain can include:

  • Surgery
  • Broken bones
  • Dental work
  • Burns
  • Cuts
  • Labor and childbirth

 

 

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is a type of pain that is ongoing and typically lasts longer than 6 months. This type of pain can continue even after the illness or injury that caused it has healed or gone away. These pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Some people may experience chronic pain even when there is no past injury or damage causing it.

 

Causes of chronic pain can include:

  • Headache
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Nerve pain
  • Back pain
  • Fibromyalgia pain

 

Those who suffer with chronic pain can have physical effects that are stressful on the body. These include tense muscles, limited mobility, lack of energy, and emotional effects such as depression, anger, and anxiety.

 

Pain is a normal part of life – but when pain becomes chronic, it becomes a problem to explore with your doctor.

 

Tinnitus During Pregnancy

Tinnitus During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s body changes in a variety of ways. From morning sickness, to cravings, to irritability, the body chooses to adapt itself to grow with the baby it is growing. However, these well known symptoms are just a few of what women may experience during pregnancy. One fairly common, but less talked about, symptom is tinnitus – or, a ringing in the ears.

Tinnitus symptoms can range from a quiet humming sound in the background of one’s mind, to a persistent and loud ringing in the ears, and even crashing and banging sounds. Typically, tinnitus disappears naturally over time, but for a small percentage of people it can become a chronic condition.

What is the connection between tinnitus and pregnancy? Among many other changes in the body during pregnancy, congestion in the ear passages is a fairly common side effect during pregnancy. This congestion can lead to closing of the Eustachian tube and increased pressure in the ear – which can lead to tinnitus symptoms.

Futhermore, there is some evidence that an iron deficiency can lead to tinnitus, so it is important for pregnant women to ensure they are seeing their doctor or OB regularly for check ups, especially if they are experiencing tinnitus through their pregnancy.  If your doctor is not concerned of the reasons for your tinnitus, you may simply need to wait for the ringing to subside on its own.

In some cases, relaxation exercises may help to reduce the symptoms. Some options for achieving this can include lying down in a quiet and dark room, concentrating on breathing, and meditating.

Often, tinnitus is simply just a symptom of the body adjusting to the changes of pregnancy – sometimes it occurs as soon as the first trimester. It is important during pregnancy to trust your body and accept the changes as part of a smooth and stress-free pregnancy.

Dental Migraine Triggers

Dental Migraine Triggers

While conventional medicine still has not figured out what exactly causes migraine headaches, one trigger has been identified as being caused by cranial dental imbalances. When the cranial bones and joints in the skull bones are distorted, changes in pressure can cause issues such as migraine pain. When the jaw is not aligned properly, known as malocclusion, the cranial-dental balances can become quite severe.

Diagnosing cranial distortion uses four indicators to palpate the skull and to determine whether the contact of the teeth worsens the cranial strain patterns, which could cause a migraine headache. If the contact of the teeth increases skull distortion, a high probability exists that this is a major cause for the patient’s headaches and migraines.

In one example, a patient who experiences migraine headaches may be tested for having cranial distortions caused by pressure when the teeth are closed. Treatment may involve orthodontic treatment to align the jaw and teeth properly to alleviate the pressure of the dental cranial imbalances. The structural correction is a non-invasive procedure and it fixes the underlying problem, often alleviating the migraines.

Sometimes, migraines can be caused by temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) which are when the TMJ joint is broken down, often due to things such as grinding or clenching of the jaw. Often, when someone gets migraines the first place to look is the TMJ joint, as it is frequently the root of the problem. Stress, among a number of other conditions, can cause jaw clenching which leads to irritation of the TMJ joint. This can progress to further cranial imbalances and create a cycle of migraines.

If a migraine is caused by cranial imbalances caused by TMJ disorders, your first step would be to see your dentist. The good news is that TMJ and cranial imbalances can be treated, which could be the key to getting rid of your migraines for good.

Dental-related Chronic Head Pain

Dental-related Chronic Head Pain

People who suffer from headaches may want to consider making an appointment with their dentist as well as their doctor, experts say. Headaches and dental pain have been proven to have a lot in common with each other. Unfortunately, headache and dental pain can form a painful feedback loop as pain centered in the nerves and muscles in the face and neck can trigger headaches, which then can trigger worse jaw and neck pain.

Headaches and toothaches both transmit through the trigeminal nerve, which is the largest sensory nerve in the head. It supplies the face, scalp, jaw, teeth and many intra-oral structures. Therefore, pain in one area of this nerve can activate pain in other branches. In people who get migraines, a toothache can easily trigger them.

Additionally, reflexive behaviours caused by external pain such as jaw clenching or muscle tightening can actually exacerbate and transfer the pain.  Because of how interconnected the jaw, head, and neck are, tension and pain is transferred easily between the different areas. Often the tension begins without knowing – a patient will clench or grind their teeth subconsciously which can begin the cycle of headache and oral pain. This cycle can make it difficult for a doctor to determine the actual cause of the initial pain. A dentist trained in orofacial pain may be the best option for help at this point.

If a patient being treated for migraines or headaches is not seeing relief from the initial methods of treatment, they may be next referred to a dentist for evaluation. Because both oral pain and headaches have a great deal in common with one another, and because the initial cause can be difficult to determine, it is important for patients to work together with both their doctor and their dentist to target the cause of their pain an end the cycle.