TMJ and injectables that could cure headaches caused by it!
14 Aug 2018
Do you suffer from regular tension headaches or facial pain? You might have a temporomandibular joint that isn’t working the way it should, creating a namesake condition generally referred to as TMJ.
TMJ, what is that?
Your temporomandibular joints are the ‘hinges’ on either side of your head. They work alongside your muscles and ligaments enabling you to chew, speak, yawn or do pretty much anything that involves opening and closing your mouth. This hardworking joint can easily become a source of pain. It can range from stress that causes you to clench or grind; to a medical condition like rheumatoid arthritis that affects your joints or an injury that sees it dislocate or inflame.
The most typical symptom is simply jaw pain or a headache, but you could also experience neck or shoulder pain. Other symptoms include struggling to chew, feeling a ‘click’ or ‘pop’ when you do, battling to fully open your mouth. You could also struggle with lockjaw, dizziness, earaches and even a loss of hearing.
Essentially, TMJ is a poorly functioning temporomandibular joint. However be aware that you don’t need to be able to tick off each and every symptom to be diagnosed. Many sufferers merely experience jaw, head or facial pain that waxes and wanes, and nothing else. Ultimately, your doctor or dentist will be able to diagnose you. This may call for a physical exam, as well as a few questions and perhaps an X-ray.
Take the TMJ pain away
Sometimes TMJ is temporary, other times it’s chronic. In either situation, your doctor, after identifying what’s caused it, will recommend an appropriate treatment path. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t always have to require dental work or surgery.
For example, if your TMJ is caused by grinding or clenching, you might find that just a specially designed plate to wear at night. One that keeps your teeth from touching, is enough to give your jaw a break and allow it to heal.
A bit about injectable relief
If you’re a grinder or clencher, you could find relief at Skin Renewal in the form of a botulinum toxin injectable like Botox. It’s used to weaken the muscles responsible for the overuse, but not to the extent that you can’t use them. But, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to chew and do everything else you’re used to.
The procedure is quick and painless and usually requires no more than five or six injections. After a couple of days, you should be able to feel a difference. For those who suffer headaches, provided they’re a result of their TMJ, will find these either ease up in intensity, lessen or stop altogether. The injections need to be repeated every four to six months. However but, after the second treatment, the habit of clenching or grinding is usually broken.
Healing at home
If you’re dealing with a sore jaw there are lots of things you can do at home to help ease the pain. One is to apply a compress like a hot microwaveable bean bag or ice pack that can help soothe inflamed muscles. Experiment with both to see which offers you the most relief.
If you’re finding it hurts when you chew then limit the movement to let your jaw relax as much as possible. This means smoothies and soft foods are in and ‘chewy’, ‘crunchy’ ones are out. You can also pop an over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) like ibuprofen to take the edge off but always chat with your doctor as certain pain medications shouldn’t be taken in the long term.
Lastly, learn to relax! A yoga class or a little meditation can go a long way to reduce stress levels as well as tension in every part of your body including your jaw. So, breath in deep and let the healing begin!