Talking and chewing shouldn’t be a pain. So why does your jaw hurt so much, even if you’re not doing those things?
There’s a chance you could be experiencing a TMJ problem, which is known in the medical world as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). This is the joint where your lower jaw and your skull meet.
It’s quite common for people to have discomfort from this joint, but recognizing the signs is important. Here are 5 symptoms of a TMJ flare up.
1. Pain in The Ear
Often when people have TMD, they feel pain in the ear. While this pain can be the result of an infection, many doctors are starting to recognize the connection to TMJ.
If you find you have earaches often and medicine to clear an infection isn’t working, then you may be experiencing TMJ discomfort.
2. Intense Headaches
If you’re experiencing frequent headaches or even migraines, TMD could be the culprit. This is because jaw problems can affect the trigeminal nerve, which can then trigger a migraine.
TMD can be caused by grinding your teeth at night or during the day, and this has been connected to migraines. While you may be able to treat migraines with medications, you’ll still have to address the underlying cause.
3. Limited Jaw Movement
You may find that it’s difficult to open your jaw all the way, or it’s painful to do so. This is one of the biggest signs of TMJ flare-ups and is sometimes referred to as “locking” of the jaw.
4. Clicking or Popping Sounds
Many times when there’s an issue with the TMJ, you can hear a popping or clicking noise when chewing. It may even happen when you’re talking.
While the noise may not be audible to other people, you’ll definitely hear it as the joint is close to your ear. In some cases, pain can accompany the clicking.
5. Tenderness of the Jaw
Your entire lower jaw (usually on one side) may be raw or throbbing from a TMJ disorder. That means the pain can persist even when you’re not eating or chewing.
This discomfort can be the result of clenching your teeth, which tires out the jaw muscles and causes them to spasm.
Easing Symptoms of a TMJ Flare Up
Many times, TMJ pain doesn’t last very long and can go away on its own. You can shorten a flare-up with heat or cold applications. There are other ways to help prevent it through professional treatment.
That could involve physical therapy to stretch and relax muscles, as well as a splint to help move your jaw into a better position. If you need immediate relief, a professional can give you an injection to ease spasms and pain. Botox has been shown to ease TMJ problems and related headaches.
In the meantime, avoid chewing gum, and move to a softer diet if possible. Try to keep your face relaxed, and be mindful of teeth grinding. A night guard can help.
Finding the Right TMJ Specialist
If you’re feeling the symptoms of a TMJ flare up, then you should seek the help of an expert. We not only treat the pain and discomfort but also can address the underlying causes to prevent flare-ups in the future.
For more information on how we can help put an end to your TMJ pain, Call Dr. Farrell for a free consultation at 480-945-3629 today!