What you need to know about your muscle soreness or stiffness

missing teeth, crooked teeth, broken teeth, TMJ disorder, Santa Monica dentistMuscle pain is one of those uncomfortable facts of life that everyone experiences occasionally. Sometimes it is simply because we picked up something heavy, did too much strenuous exercise or slept in an awkward position. When that soreness or stiffness occurs on a regular basis, however, there may be a rippling effect of pain flowing from another connected source. That source may be a TM joint disorder.

How can TMJ affect other parts of your body?

Our bodies are wired together in an amazing array of muscles, ligaments, bones and cartilage. Each part is important and has a job to do. When any piece of this human masterpiece becomes dysfunctional or injured, the rest of the body is also affected.

Let’s look at the jaw joint and how it relates to the rest of the body. The temporal part of your skull, located just in front of your ear, is hinged by a disc to your lower jaw. This enables you to easily open and close your mouth to chew, yawn or talk. Additionally, there are muscles to stabilize the jaw and hold it in position.

When a bite becomes misaligned, this one seemingly small change can throw your entire body out of balance. Here is a cycle of pain caused by a TM joint disorder:

  • Something happens to change your bite
  • When your jaw relaxes into its proper sleeping position, your teeth no longer fit together
  • You start to grind your teeth to try make them fit together again
  • Bruxism begins to wear down your teeth and cause chronic jaw pain and facial spasms
  • Headaches become more frequent and severe
  • There is pressure and ringing in your ears
  • Tightness and pain in your neck and shoulders follows, along with tingling in your arms and hands
What can you do?

The symptoms can be temporarily medicated, but that will not fix the real problem. A neuromuscular dentist, however, can do a full clinical examination to determine your correct jaw position and whether it is currently misaligned. If there is an issue, a personalized treatment plan can be implemented to properly resolve it.