couple hiking after tmj therapy

TMJ Arthralgia Symptoms And Treatment Options

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, refers to any pain around the joint or muscles that connect your jaw to your skull. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 5 to 12 percent of the population have TMD, and the disorder is more prevalent among younger people and women. TMJ arthralgia is a condition within the umbrella of TMD that refers to pain and inflammation inside your joint, says the Mayo Clinic. If you suffer from soreness in this area, you already know it can run the spectrum from minor tenderness to acute pain. Be aware of the symptoms to look out for and what treatments are available to find relief.

Symptoms of TMJ Arthralgia

Moreover, if you've been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, like lupus or Lyme, or have a physical dislocation in your jaw, you may be more susceptible to TMJ arthralgia, reports the Mayo Clinic.

  • You may have tenderness, soreness or acute pain in your face.
  • Earaches may be common.
  • Headaches can be a symptom.
  • You might experience a lack of movement in the joint.
  • A clicking noise in your jaw may point to arthralgia.

Finding Relief: Treatments for Arthralgia

You might consider a toothbrush like Colgate 360° Enamel Health Soft Toothbrush for Sensitive Teeth which has 48 percent softer bristles and its raised cleaning tips help get into hard-to-reach places. Though you may feel less inclined to brush an area that's constantly sore or achy, The TMJ Association advises talking to your dentist about your daily oral care options and to schedule regular dental visits.

  • Corrective ware. If your bite is off, corrective ware, like braces, is one option.
  • Electrical current and heat therapy. TENS (or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) relaxes your joints to reduce pain. In the same way, radio wave therapy stimulates blood flow, which reduces pain. Ultrasound may also help. It creates heat inside the joint to increase movement and cut down on pain.
  • Injection therapy. Known as trigger point therapy, is a more invasive treatment where anesthesia is injected into your facial muscles to stop the pain.
  • Surgery. Today, arthroscopy is a less invasive option than open-jaw surgery. A small incision is made and video technology helps the surgeon guide your joint or another part of the temporomandibular system into place, or remove any inflamed tissue. Arthrocentesis is similar to arthroscopy but uses a fluid injection to drain inflamed tissue. While this procedure is typically used for diagnostic purposes, it may relieve the pressure and discomfort in the area. Open-jaw surgery is the most intensive treatment and may be recommended as the last resort, depending on the severity of your dislocation, wear and inflammation in the area.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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