While many continue to argue about the length of pain and how long one has to suffer it to be considered in chronic pain, the fact is that most pain labeled as chronic does not go away. Sadly, chronic pain is a highly misunderstood condition that not much money or effort is put into understanding or learning about. To help push for more attention to be given to the treatment and further understanding of chronic pain, the chair of the IOM Committee on Advancing Pain Research recently released a Congressionally-mandated report, the first of its kind, in effort to help the millions of American women who suffer from chronic pain.
The mandated report stated that over 50 million women in America alone suffer from one or more condition that is known to cause chronic pain. Though the list includes a variety of health problems, TMJ disorder was listed along with fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and many others. While each condition brings about its own type of chronic pain, TMJ is most known for causing jaw pain, neck pain, facial pain, and migraines.
How Can A Problematic Jaw
Cause Chronic Pain?
Even though many don’t see the jaw joint as a part of the body that is extremely important, the usage of the TMJ is widely understated. What people don’t know is that every time they open their mouths to yawn, talk, or chew food, they are using their TMJ joints. The TMJ joints have to be in a proper alignment to work properly and without any type of pain. However, when one of the joints is misaligned or off balance, the symptoms can be extremely painful.
Chronic pain is commonly linked to TMJ because without treatment that locates and fixes the root of the problem, symptoms of a misaligned TMJ will continue. The problem is that most TMJ symptoms aren’t life-threatening nor are they overly alarming. Symptoms such as headaches, jaw pain, and facial pain that come and go usually don’t force patients to seek medical treatment. Instead OTC and at home remedies are usually sought. However, what many patients don’t know is that the pain relief is only temporary and in the end no matter if its migraines or jaw pain, the pain does become chronic and never-ending.
So what is the fix for a misaligned TMJ? TMJ treatment will differ from patient to patient though many times an orthotic is used to keep the jaw and mouth in a more properly suited bite. Patients should realize that the pain associated with TMJ is caused by the body’s natural response to realign the bite, which only causes excessive tension and strain. To learn more about TMJ and to determine if your jaw joint is to blame for chronic pain, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Matthews’ Austin dental office!