Most problems associated with the temporomandibular joint or TMJ can cause a person pain in the jaw area, face, and head. And as for the jaw pain, how long does TMJ last? This depends on the root cause of the TMJ pain. It may vary from case to case. That’s what we’ll discuss here so that you can have a greater understanding of this condition and how it can be addressed through the various treatment options available.
What is TMD?
When referring to the condition of the TMJ, it is called the temporomandibular disorder or TMD. It is quite complex and each person experiences the symptoms differently. In general, the pain is felt in the jaw area. However, there are other symptoms such as the following:
- Facial or jaw pain after eating
- Pain in the jaw or face after talking as well as during stressful situations
- Tooth pain, jaw pain, or headache in the morning upon waking up
- Sudden headaches that are mostly felt near the eyes or temples
- Pain in the ears
- Pain in the shoulders, back, and neck
How to Relieve TMD Pain?
The pain that you feel when you have TMD is not the usual toothache or headache. It won’t simply go away after you take some pain relievers. While medications can help in relieving the pain temporarily, it will not fully address why you have TMD in the first place. It’s important that the underlying cause of the disorder be identified and addressed so that the TMJ pain will go away.
Do remember that pain relievers are alright as a short-term remedy. Don’t take it too often because you may suffer from bad side effects. For example, NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin can cause stomach problems, high blood pressure, or kidney problems in the long run. Take note that you shouldn’t take such medications for more than two days without first having the approval of your doctor.
Will the Pain Go Away?
When you have TMD, it is likely that you have injury, inflammation, or irritation to your TMJ. If you don’t address such issues, the TMJ will not heal and the pain you’re experiencing will continue. Since each person has different causes why they have TMD, the symptoms and level of pain vary as well.
The length of time that the person has endured the TMJ pain will most likely influence if the pain will be resolved or if it will continue. With acute issues such as tooth grinding during highly stressful situations, TMJ pain may be resolved within several days to a few weeks. However, if the jaw pain has been there for months to years already, then it may also take longer to be resolved.
For the treatment for TMD to be successful, it has to be personalized. This means that individual plans have to be created and designed specifically for each patient. With the TMD pain, there’s no single solution that can cover all types of cases. For the most effective treatment, the root causes of the disorders should be addressed. And from there, a treatment plan can be developed for the patient to follow. This is the best step toward getting relieve from pain because of TMD.
Understanding TMJ Pain
The pain that you experience because of TMD can be a bit of puzzle. For example, the symptoms sometimes get worse when you’re feeling stressed or when you’re sick. Sometimes, the weather plays a role, too. And then there are times that it just fades away without you doing anything about it. This cycle of pain and relief can go on if you don’t do anything about what’s causing the disorder in the first place.
Many people who have TMD may not even know it is TMD. The symptoms can be the same as those of headache disorders, dental infections, sinus headaches, or ear infections. Most often, people with TMD resort to pain killers and forget about the issue when the pain goes away. Remember that this relief is only temporary and the root cause should still be addressed.
When to Seek Treatment
TMD is just like other medical conditions. You ought to seek treatment as soon as possible. The jaw is among the most vital joints of your body so you should take care of it. When you delay treatment, it could lead to further infection or inflammation and this can cause lasting damage to the TMJ.
If the pain is already interfering with your every day functioning, then there’s no doubt that you should go to a doctor to have it assessed and treated. Such pain can cause you to sleep and eat less and this will affect your health eventually. Work or school performance will be affected as well so TMD is really a health condition that you shouldn’t take lightly.
Don’t think of TMD as something that will just go away on its own even if it is like that sometimes. You shouldn’t endure the pain when you know you can do something about it. If you think that you have this condition, don’t just sit around wondering how long does TMJ last?
Remember that the root cause has to be addressed so don’t just wait for the pain to subside. Instead, go to your doctor and talk to him or her about what you’re experiencing so that you can be given proper treatment and care.
Dr. Tymothy L. Flory graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri. Before opening Atlas Brain Spine, Dr. Flory practiced Upper Cervical Chiropractic in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Flory completed Board Certification of the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association in 2012 and is currently a Credentialed Instructor for the organization.