Are you one of the millions suffering from temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMD)? You don’t have to suffer in silence. Those with TMD experience jaw pain, headaches, muscle spasms, neck pain, dizziness, popping or locking of the jaw, or tinnitus. Today, there are a variety of options to help make symptoms manageable. It all starts with a conversation with your doctor, dentist, and Denver TMJ expert. Use some of these treatments and ask your local TMJ physical therapist for tips to find relief.
Mouth guards are often used as a treatment for people with Bruxism, which is excessive grinding or clenching. Many TMD sufferers also clench their teeth while sleeping, which can lead to headaches, tinnitus, jaw pain, earaches, and more. In extreme cases, it can even damage one’s teeth. Since this is an involuntary action done while sleeping, a mouth guard can help. Your dentist will be able to create a fitted mold, customized to your mouth. From there, the mouth guard can be worn every night to help from clenching.
Hot and Cool Packs
Treating pain with heat and cold
can provide quick relief when in pain due to TMD. As for which to use, you can take your pick. For soreness, cool ice packs could be great to set on the jaw. The cool temperature will help to reduce any inflammation in the area. For tension, a hot cloth may be best to help you ease any tension.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods or gum can be an instant trigger for TMD pain. When the jaw is overworked or struggles, you may instantly feel pain, soreness, tension, and more. Try to stay away from the following if you have TMD:
- Chewy foods: Foods or gum that take extra effort and strain the jaw are best to eat in small amounts or avoid as much as possible. This can be items like chewy candies, fatty foods such as steak, lobster or baguettes
- Crunchy food: When you eat items that are thick and crunchy, such as raw carrots or broccoli, it can put a strain on the jaw. This also includes nuts, potato chips, pretzels, and many other snack foods.
- Processed foods or sugar: Did you know that added sugar or processed foods can lead to inflammation? This can make your TMD flair up, making for an unpleasant feeling.
When choosing to treat your TMD with medication, it is best to consult with a local TMJ specialist. Some of the common medications used to treat TMD include:
- Anti-inflammatories: These medications are a great way to reduce swelling and tension in an area
- Muscle relaxers: The jaw muscles are connected all the way to the temples, so there are many opportunities for a person to feel tension and stain. These will help the muscles ease.
- Anti-depressants: Some TMD sufferers will take an anti-depressant to help reduce pain. How? They help work to change your body’s interpretation of the pain.
Botox injections can be inserted into one’s temples to help relax the muscles within the temples to the jaw. This is especially ideal if you have frequent headaches. It will help relax your muscles and may help you feel much better. Plus, if you have any wrinkles, it will help with those too! Don’t worry, a small amount of Botox will not make your face look frozen. Just a small amount of Botox is needed to relax the muscles. The process is not painful and can be completed in a 30-minute office visit or less. A small amount of relief can occur instantly, and you will notice a significant difference within a couple days.
When the jaw is properly aligned, it can lead to issues with the temporomandibular joint—often causing TMD. There are many TMD sufferers who cope with main simply because their jaw is not aligned properly. One option to help this problem is through a bite adjustment. In many cases, braces can solve the problem. For others, the jaw may be aligned, but the teeth are different lengths, causing your mouth not to sit evenly. A dentist can go through to even everything out. In addition, other issues may include damaged or old fillings or damaged teeth.
While a last resort in many cases, surgery can be performed to help you alleviate symptoms of TMD. Each situation is different, depending on one’s symptom, jaw, teeth, and more. When it comes to types, there are two common surgeries for those with TMD:
- Arthroscopy: A low invasive surgery that only makes one small incision. A surgeon will be able to look at the area to see where inflammation. From here, they can remove it, which will provide ease.
- Arthroplasty: For serious jaw issues, an arthroplasty may be necessary. They can go in and fix any alignment issues, remove scar tissue, and more. A complete joint replacement may be needed in very extreme instances.
Exercises and Physical Therapy
TMD can be worsened due to poor posture and improper movements. Through a special set of exercises, a physical therapist can work with you one-on-one on a plan to help provide relief. Through movements, but not overworking, you can strengthen the area and ease the tension. A physical therapist can also create a plan for those who have problems with their jaw locking. They can re-teach how the muscles react, providing relief.
As you search for ways to ease your craniofacial pain and TMJ (jaw pain), Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness
can help. Our patients will be sure to help you with a plan to help your neck and jaw pain. You may even notice an improvement in sinus issues, a reduction of headaches, and more. There is no reason to suffer, especially with eight different locations. You can visit your nearest office to work through issues. Paired with a plan from your dentist, you will be happy to live a TMD-pain-free life! Contact Peak PT & Wellness
today to see how we can start on your customized TMD plan.