Fibromyalgia and temporomandibular joint ( TMJ)

Fibromyalgia and TMJ are two completely different conditions, but seem to travel together. Many people with fibromyalgia often suffer from jaw pain and have TMJ symptoms. People with chronic fatigue syndrome are often seen to struggle with TMJ as well. High occurrences of TMJ have been reported with people who suffer from fibromyalgia – which can affect the jaw muscles, jaw joints and can cause myofascial pain to arise. A study revealed that many people who have a fibromyalgia diagnosis tend to grind/clench their teeth more then those who do not have fibromyalgia.


Last spring I had gone to the doctor because my jaw was extremely sore, clicking and locking in place. I had heard of TMJ, but never experienced having it myself. It can become rather uncomfortable and very painful at times. This attack was caused by high stress levels. My doctor advised me that my job was to go home rest my jaw, apply heat and try to destress. However, the stressful situation was beyond my control! Since this incident took place my jaw has been clicking and locking ever since. On Boxing Day, I was eating popcorn, and my jaw decided to lock when I bit down and when I opened my mouth it forced it to unlock suddenly. The pain was unbearable. I don’t even have the words to describe how it felt. All I know is after I had an instant migraine. It is still extremely sore and my jaw feels out of place.


Symptoms of TMJ:

TMJ can cause many other issues and symptoms to arise. Believe it or not a sore throat, is a common complaint by many. People can even experience pain behind their eyes – your jaw muscles are attached to the jaw from behind your eye sockets. Decreased hearing is also possible. TMJ can cause swelling in your jaw and jaw muscles. The swelling can interfere with your eustachian tubes – causing these tubes in your ear to be congested. Below is an image that lists quite a few symptoms that we may not consider being signs of TMJ.


How to help relieve TMJ.

1. Heat or ice. Applying either heat or ice to the affected side of the jaw will help relieve pain and any swelling of the jaw joint.


2. Avoid overuse of the jaw muscles. Try to eat only soft food and cut food into smaller pieces.

3. Stretching and massaging the area. If are able visit your doctor or dentist, they may be able to help guide you in exercises to help TMJ. You can also find some helpful videos on youtube on stretches to help heal and relieve the pain.

4. Acupuncture can possibly be used to help with TMJ. I do not know much about acupuncture.


4. Over the counter pain medications may be needed to help relief pain. In some cases anti inflammatories may be needed or a muscle relaxant.

5. Depending on what is causing your TMJ, you may need a mouthguard. Some people form TMJ from grinding their teeth.


6. Lower stress levels. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, clenching your terth together from being tense will cause TMJ ton arise. Take time for self care or use some stress relief techniques to help ( deep breathing)


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