Do you experience unexplained soreness in your neck and shoulders? Do you often experience throbbing headaches? Have chewing or speaking become painful? If so, you may be suffering from the painful effects of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD), which affects millions of Americans–especially women between the ages of 20 and 40. 

The problem with TMD is that it is often overlooked during medical exams and can even be misdiagnosed. But a dentist can help you identify and treat the cause of your jaw pain. And with November being TMJ Awareness Month, we want to make sure you understand what to look for. 

How severe is TMD?

It is important to emphasize that TMD or TMJ pain should not be taken lightly. When you experience pain in your TMJ, it can produce painful symptoms. Those include:

  • A locking jaw that makes it difficult to open and close the mouth.
  • Tenderness and pain in the jaw. 
  • Pain in or around your ears.
  • Migraines and tension headaches.
  • Neck and shoulder pain or stiffness.

To add to that, there are also multiple causes of TMD to keep in mind. They are:

  • Stress or injury.
  • A misaligned bite.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Arthritis or degenerative bone defects. 
  • Poor posture. 

It’s time to relieve your TMJ pain

If you are suffering from jaw discomfort or pain, it is important to seek treatment from your dentist. By working with your dentist, you can find the right treatment for your discomfort. In the meantime, though, here are some self-care steps you can try at home to relieve symptoms of TMD.

  • Learn stress-reducing techniques. 
  • Gently massage the muscles to release tension.
  • Avoid overworking the TMJ by eating hard foods or chewing gum.
  • Implement a daily exercise routine.
  • Maintain good posture by taking short breaks to rest your arms and loosen up your back and neck muscles.

Contact us at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia to learn more about TMJ pain and TMD as well as what treatment options work for relieving your symptoms.