Experiencing TMJ Symptoms?
“TMJ” is not a common term—unless you suffer from chronic jaw pain! A web search about this symptom will lead you right to TMJ, where you can learn all about TMJ, TMD, and what the terms mean. However, if you suffer from TMJ, it may take a while for you to discover what ails you. Why? Because many TMJ symptoms are known as “great imposters,” since they can look and act like other problems and can seem completely unrelated to the jaw!
What is TMJ?
First, let’s get the basics down about TMJ. TMJ actually stands for “Temporomandibular joint,” which is the ball and socket joint connecting your lower jaw to the skull. TMD is “Temporomandibular disorder,” which means the joint is not functioning properly and experiencing wear and tear—leading to pain that we will discuss below. Both “TMJ” and “TMD” are used in layman terms to describe the painful condition. We offer a detailed description and diagrams here if you are interested in the understanding more!
So let’s walk through TMJ symptoms to understand if you may need to seek treatment for TMJ! Knowing the symptoms can get you on your path to treatment and out of pain.
We will outline symptoms here from the more obvious to the unexpected.
Any of these jaw issues would lead to the fastest diagnosis of TMJ. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty eating. Tired jaws when chewing or pain when chewing both indicate that the TMJ is not functioning properly. You also may have difficulty swallowing.
- Jaw noises. Snap, crackle, and pop could be listed as TMJ symptoms! If your jaw isn’t working smoothly, you may often hear clicking, popping, and grating noises when opening and closing the mouth.
- Limited jaw motion. If you have trouble opening and closing your jaw, this could be the result of TMJ. This can mean you have a limited opening of your jaw, difficulty closing your teeth together, or it can even lead to a painful and uncomfortable condition where your jaw is locked in an open position.
Head and face pain.
Several of these issues may happen as a result of pain radiating from the jaw.
- Facial pain. Other parts of your face may experience pain as a result of TMJ—including your eyes, forehead, cheeks, mouth, throat, tongue and teeth. This is because the TMJ is near a major face nerve.
- Ear pain. This can masquerade as earaches, or even a feeling of congestion or the sound of ringing in the ears. This is because tension and inflammation in your jaw can lead to the same in your inner ear.
- Headaches. Pain often can radiate, leading to unexplained, painful headaches.
Other unexpected symptoms.
These TMJ symptoms can look like other problems if you don’t know you have TMJ.
- Dizziness or fainting. TMJ can actually cause dizziness because of inflammation that affects the ears. This throws off the body’s ability to send information to your brain about the movement of your body, which can cause you to be dizzy.
- Neck pain and stiffness. Your neck muscles are actually connected to your jaw, so pain in the jaw can easily radiate and make your neck sore.
- Hand numbness. TMJ can cause muscle spasms, and this can pinch other nerves in your body. Your hands, arms, and fingers may tingle as a result of TMJ.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you? If so, you may be experiencing TMJ! Set up an appointment today to get to the bottom of your TMJ symptoms and start the process of treatment. We’d love to help get you out of pain.