Want some ideas for How To Treat TMJ Pain. If you've been struggling with TMJ, there are tons of ways to help ease the discomfort that you can benefit from.
Some of these ways to treat TMJ Pain are non invasive and easy to do at home. Others may require help from a medical professional. Below you'll find tons of information to help you cope with TMJ Pain.
How To Treat TMJ Pain?
Temporomandibular joint (or TMJ) is the joint where both sides of the lower mandible (jawbone) connect to the skull.
TMJ pain is when any of the muscles, ligaments, nerves and bones are not functioning properly, that is when a person will experience pain in the TMJ joint. When this pain becomes chronic it is then classified as TMD or temporomandibular disorders.
Symptoms of TMD
The exact symptoms vary by person and by the severity of the case. Here are some of the possible symptoms you could notice:
- Jaw Locking in Position
- Jaw Pain
- Difficulty Chewing/Talking
- Tenderness of the Jaw
- Aching Ear (inside or around it)
- Aching Jaw
- Facial Pain
- Limited motion of the Jaw
- Sensitive Teeth
Causes of TMD
In most cases the exact cause of a person’s TMD is hard to detect. Some of the possible causes are:
- Injury to the Jaw, Neck or Head
- Grinding of the Teeth
- Jaw Clenching
- Disc Displacement (the disc between the lower mandible and the skull)
- Jaw Alignment
How do I Know if I have TMD?
Other medical conditions have similar or identical symptoms to TMD. To find out if your jaw pain is TMD or something else you need to schedule a visit to your dentist or your primary care physician.
Treatments for TMJ Pain
Non Medicated Options
Mouth guards are often worn at night to help reduce clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth while a person sleeps.
Resting the temporomandibular joint can often help to control the pain associated with TMD.
Physical therapy will use various techniques and resources to help stretch the muscles around the temporomandibular joint to relieve tension. After the tension is released the therapist will work with you to rebuild proper strength and use of the temporomandibular joint.
A temporary diet change may be prescribed in order to help rest the temporomandibular joint.
Rotating ice packs and heat packs also helps to alleviate the pain. Ice packs typically help with the inflammation that occurs in the joint whereas heat will help reduce the pain.
Jaw clenching due to stress is a common cause of TMD. Practicing relaxation techniques can help to release some of the stress that we encounter on a daily basis which can help to decrease the clenching of the jaw.
Medical TMJ Treatments
Over the Counter
Anti-inflammatories and Pain Relievers- Commonly known as acetaminophen (pain reliever) and ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory).
Anti-inflammatories and Pain Relievers
Sometimes a prescription dose of either of these are may be needed. That will be determined by either your doctor or your dentist.
Depending on the severity of your TMJ, a muscle relaxer may be prescribed for a short period of time to help relieve the muscle spasms associated with TMJ.
If none of the other treatments work to relieve your TMD pain and symptoms surgery may be considered. This is not a go-to treatment but has been used sparingly for severe cases.
How is the Best Treatment Decided
Treatment is decided on a case by case basis. There are several factors that help to determine the best treatment for your specific case. The most common determining factors are:
- Medical History
- Length of Current Condition
- Expected Length of Condition
- Tolerance of Specific Medications
- Tolerance of Therapies
- Your preference/opinion
Temporomandibular joint disorders are pretty common. While you do need to seek medical advice for diagnosis there are many treatment options to help alleviate the pain and discomfort. Many of these treatments can be done right in the comfort of your own home.