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The Serious Side Effects Of TMJ Disorder
Although there is a connection between TMJ disorder and other disease processes, the explanation of how this works may take a little time. When a person has displaced or slipped discs in their jaw joints, this can and will cause head and neck pain, tremors, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, and sleep disordered breathing. The SDB (Sleep Disordered Breathing) often comes about due to the pain caused by the slipped discs. This is just like if you found out about a slipped disc in your lower back and how this can be the source of so much pain. So many people suffer from slipped discs in their jaw joints, yet they are not aware that this can be the cause of so many other problems.
Oftentimes, by the time the person meets up with the right TMJ doctor, they have already been to many specialists – the ENT, DO, PT, PCP, etc. and have been told that all is well, all is good. In order to really figure out if there is a TMJ problem, it is necessary to do an MRI of the jaw joints and view what those discs – the articular discs – are doing. In almost all cases of head and neck pain, those pesky little discs are slipped out of place, and they are pinching upon the nerves that are prominent in the joint. The temporomandibular joint is amazingly full of nerves and blood vessels, in fact so much that the slightest displacement can cause severe pain in a person.
One of the problems with this TMJ pain is that sleep is often compromised because the person wakes up frequently and this disrupts the normal cycle of recuperative sleep. Deep sleep is critically important to the healing process of our bodies. Without it, inflammation sets in, and this leads to a lack of ability for the cells to repair and this leads to more pain which leads to less sleep, and you get the picture.
The research on this is quite clear. If you do not sleep well, your body breaks down at a faster rate which leads to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and even other disease processes like cancer. Unfortunately, if this vicious cycle is not identified and broken, it just keeps getting worse as the years go by. Even obesity is directly correlated to poor sleep- sleep apnea prevents our bodies from making the hormones we need to control our eating habits and we lose control and end up terribly overweight. Again- this is a vicious cycle that is very difficult to break unless you identify it early enough.
The message here is that if you think you might have a TMJ problem – jaw clicking/popping, headaches, neck pain, dizziness, or even an unbalanced bite – get it checked by someone who understands TMJ disorders and can help you get a handle on the problem. Do it early and do it right.