TMJ and Teeth Grinding at Night Pain
Synopsis: There is no single cause for all cases of TMJ teeth grinding pain as there are generally combinations of several causes.1
Author: Christian Goodman
Published: 2009-03-17 Updated: 2010-08-07
Main DigestThere is no reliable cure for TMJ! Your doctor is probably doing his best to relief your pain.
He has most likely subscribed you strong pain relief pills. Maybe some muscle relaxation medications too. But that's it.
No more he can do.
All these medicines fail. Even if they reduce the pain a little for a while in the beginning, they'll stop working little by little as your body gets immune to them.
Your dentists may try his best to help you by making a dental implant. These implants are mostly meant to save your teeth from grinding down. It is not a permanent cure and usually doesn't relief the pain, although it may be well worth it to save your teeth.
So why has science failed you
One of the reason why it has been so difficult to find cure for TMJ, is how complex this condition is. There is probably no single cause for all cases of TMJ. There are rather combinations of several causes. And the causes are probably both physical and emotional.
Intense stress, grief, or anger often trigger TMJ. So can injuries (from a car accident for example).
You may not even have noticed it when you accidentally bumped into something. Few days later, you began to feel this pain in your jaw.
There is often no way of knowing what originally triggered your TMJ.
Okay, enough of what we don't know
We do know that the Jaw joints are always misplaced in some way. It's sometimes sever, other times it's minor misplacement. The effects can be extremely painful and irritating at the same time...
- Clicking, popping jaw joints
- Grating sounds
- Jaw locking opened or closed
- Extreme pain in cheek muscles
- Uncontrollable jaw or tongue movements
- Clenching or grinding at night
- Discomfort or pain to any of these areas
- Limited opening
- Inability to open the jaw smoothly or evenly
- Jaw deviates to one side when opening
- Inability to "find bite" with teeth
- Frequent, migraine type headaches
...are just few obvious symptoms. You may have some or all of them. Or non at all. Like I said, this is very complicated condition.
What we also know is that the muscles around the jaw are always tense. Sometimes they're torn a little, sometimes they're sore, but they're always tense. Weak, tense muscles do not support the jaw in the right way and will actually push it out of position, making this big part of the problem.
This is similar to what happens with back problems. The back muscles are stiff and weak to begin with. Then something happens, which puts strain on the back. Maybe working in a wrong position or small injury. It didn't really feel very bad in the beginning.
To avoid the mild pain, the muscles in the back get tense. It jut happens. This is a function nature gave us to deal with pain. The real problem begins when the tension in the back muscles push the spine (even just a little bit) out of place. What should only have been minor problem if the person had exercised and strengthen the back muscles, is now chronic, serious condition.
I'm telling you this because TMJ develops the same way.
Your TMJ may have began as minor problem like short period of intense feelings or light bump on the jaw. Then as your jaw muscles get more tens and push the jaw out of position, it has developed into a major condition.
This is the beginning of series of other problems.
Now the two jaw joints do not cooperate together. They're unbalanced and uncontrollable. It shouldn't really come as surprise that everything gets stuck. The pain is unbearable. It's like begin constantly tortured.
Nerves get squeezed. Either directly by the misplaced jaw or the tense muscles around it. The same nerves lie around the jaw as the ears. The same nerves that control the balance system. That's why you may experience dizziness or lack or balance for example
No muscle is an island. They're all connected, either directly or through the nerve system. If your jaw muscles get stiff, all the other muscles around it will tense up too. You've probably experienced your shoulders and neck become more tense, as your TMJ has grown worse. This is only one example.
You may not have noticed how all the small muscles in your head (including the throat muscles, tongue, and eyes) have more tension in them now than they did before. This is serious.
You don't have to imagine all the secondary symptoms this indirect tension from the jaw is creating. You're experiencing some or all of them yourself...
- arm and finger tingling, numbness and or pain
- pain of the hard palate in the mouth
- tongue pain
- voice fluctuations
- swallowing difficulties
- hissing, buzzing, ringing, or roaring sounds
- blurring of vision
- watering of the eyes
- swallowing difficulties
...and hundreds of other secondary symptoms, you may or may not have experienced your self.
The only way to reverse the development of TMJ and heal your self is to loosen up and strengthen both the jaw muscles and all the muscles around the jaw.
This can be accomplished using easy, yet extremely effective exercises:
1) Working directly on the jaw muscles strengthen and loosens them up. Healthy jaw muscles guide the jaw joints into right position instead of misplacing them.
2) Consider how close the tongue is to the jaw. It's no wonder how important it is to remove any tension from this muscle. You do that using simple tongue exercises.
3) The throat exercises strengthen the throat. The throat muscles are some of these 'hidden' muscles we seldom pay attention to. They're however extremely important and if they're stiff, you'll suffer several symptoms in your throat.
4) The neck and shoulder muscles are directly connected to the Jaw muscles. These muscles are usually the first one to freeze when the jaw muscles get stiff. They can, however, easily be put back into regular function using powerful neck and shoulder exercises.
5) All muscles need oxygen to function properly. Stiff muscles, reduce the amount of oxygen they can process. Using specially designed breathing exercises, you can bring these muscles back to life, so they may begin to function properly again.
Most people who practice these exercises claim to get really good relief from them. Many totally heal their TMJ permanently. This is amazing, considering how complicated this condition is.
But before you get your hope to high, I'm going to be brutally honest...
It varies a lot how quickly people receive relief using these exercises. Some people get healed almost over night. Others need up to 2 months to get acceptable results. You've been developing this condition for years (even if you just recently experienced the symptoms). So be patient waiting for results.
It will also take some time for your jaw to gain the strain to guide your jaw joints into their healthy, natural position.
The fact remains, this is the only method proven effective to heal TMJ. Nothing else helps.
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