TMJ pain can keep you from enjoying life as you should, with constant headaches and muscle aches and even pain while eating and talking. If you have TMJ there is help available, and there are also some things you can do (and avoid) to help yourself feel and function better.
What is TMJ?
Patients with TMJ may have pain and tenderness in the jaw, face, neck, and even shoulders, all stemming from dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, the joint that attaches your skull and jawbone. It may be caused by an inherited condition, such as arthritis, but it may also be caused by repetitive teeth grinding or cartilage damage.
What can you do about TMJ?
There are some home remedies that can help, such as putting ice or heat on the joint when it is causing pain. Over-the-counter pain medications can help as well. You should also avoid these 5 things:
1. Using your teeth as tools. Don’t use your teeth to open packages (and avoid chewing on hard objects such as pens, as well).
2. Bad posture. Your posture can make a difference and can trigger TMJ pain if you are sitting or standing with poor posture for too long.
3. Smoking. Smoking increases the risk of conditions that can exacerbate TMJ symptoms, such as arthritis.
4. Eating foods that are difficult to chew. Bagels may be your absolute favorite, but they may not be the best choice because they take so much effort to chew.
5. Stress. This is easier said than done, of course, but stress is something you should try to avoid if you have TMJ. It can make the muscles in the head, jaw, and neck tense up and cause pain.
Something else to consider if you have TMJ is having some dental work done. Teeth that don’t align properly can make TMJ symptoms worse. Misaligned teeth may be due to missing or crooked teeth. If you notice pain in your jaw and often have headaches, you may have TMJ – but your dentist may be able to help. Contact Lerner & Lemongello in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for a consultation. Call (561) 627-9000 today!