How your headaches, neck and back pain can be caused by a jaw problem

If you have a jaw problem, it could be causing symptoms throughout your head and even into your back. Jaw problems are one of the most common yet most often overlooked culprits behind headaches, migraines, neck pain and back pain. TMJ disorder is a jaw disorder that is often undiagnosed or left untreated, but treatment from a dentist can solve a lot of painful problems.

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. These joints are on the sides of your head between your upper jaw and the base of your skull, and they are the joints that allow your jaws to move. These joints get a tremendous workout from the moment you are born and if they aren’t functioning correctly, TMJ syndrome can be the result. The causes of TMJ disorder include:

  • injuries to the jaw joint or teeth
  • a bite imbalance or misalignment of the teeth
  • teeth grinding and/or clenching
  • poor posture, stress, arthritis, and gum chewing

What are the symptoms?

In addition to pain or stiffness in the jaws, TMJ can send pain signals through your entire nervous system. Headaches are a common TMJ symptom. Other TMJ pain can be felt in your neck and even your back, in fact, it is possible for the complex nerve pathways involved in TMJ disorder to send pain signals anywhere in your body.

You may also experience:

  • muscle stiffness
  • tingling sensations in your hands or arms
  • popping sounds in your jaw joint
  • ear pain or ringing
  • vision problems like floaters.

While there are many possible causes of most of these symptoms, TMJ disorder is often overlooked by doctors.

Get help for TMJ problems

Dentists are often more knowledgeable about TMJ because the problem is related to your jaws and your teeth. Our Chicago dentist can diagnose TMJ disorder by an examination and a consultation to discuss your symptoms.

Treatment for TMJ can be noninvasive or involve permanent changes to your bite. Noninvasive treatment is usually recommended if you have a good bite and no missing or broken teeth. This usually involves the fitting of a dental appliance that will guide your jaws into proper position for optimum comfort.

If you have misaligned teeth or need dental work to straighten, replace or repair damaged teeth, restoring your teeth can balance your bite and relieve stress. These solutions can relieve TMJ symptoms and the pain of headaches, neck pain and back pain.

If you are suffering from undiagnosed pain, please contact us to set up an appointment. If a jaw or tooth issue is behind the problem, a dental solution could be the answer you’ve been looking for to get rid of your pain.

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