Joint Disorder Specialist Dayton TX

Unfortunately, despite decades of research, we still don’t know what causes TMJD. But strong evidence suggests excessive use of the jaw muscles (grinding or clenching the teeth and jaws, known as bruxis), trauma tothe joint from an accident, and, of course, stress all play a role.

Arun Sharma
(281) 338-6509
4721 Garth Suite G
Baytown, TX
Specialty
Rheumatology, Emergency Medicine

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Alex Limanni, MD
712 N Washington Ave Ste 200
Dallas, TX
Specialties
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Umdnj-New Jersey Med Sch, Newark Nj 07103
Graduation Year: 1979

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Robert J Meador
(972) 494-6235
601 Clara Barton Blvd
Garland, TX
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

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Filemon K Tan
(832) 325-7191
6410 Fannin St
Houston, TX
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Michael Fischbach
(210) 257-1400
4647 Medical Dr
San Antonio, TX
Specialty
Rheumatology

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Prashanth Reddy Palwai
(281) 319-4700
22999 Highway 59 N
Kingwood, TX
Specialty
Rheumatology

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Nancy A Scheinost
(979) 774-7896
3201 University Dr E
Bryan, TX
Specialty
Rheumatology

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Harvey Ira Hyman
(713) 781-4600
2500 Fondren Rd
Houston, TX
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

Data Provided by:
Carlos Lorenzo
(210) 567-4799
7703 Foyd Curl Dr.
San Antonio, TX
Specialty
Rheumatology

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Odemaris Santiago-Young
(830) 896-6100
176 Fairway Dr
Kerrville, TX
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Rheumatology

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Muscular and Joint Disorders

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By Sam Dworkin, dds, phd, professor emeritus of psychiatry, behavioral sciences and oral medicine at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Dentistry

Assuming your dentist has already ruled out arthritis or a traumatic injury as the cause of your TMJD, yes, natural treatments will ease the pain without surgery or heavy drugs. TMJD (temporomandibular muscle and joint disorders) refers to problems with the chewing muscles (the masseter in your cheek and temporalis by your temple) or temporomandibular joint that cause persistent pain and even jaw lock. TMJD affects women much more than men (80 percent of people seeking treatment are female)—specifically women in their reproductive years (18 to 45). While no clear reason for this disparity exists, women appear to have less effective pain control during the low estrogen part of their cycle (right before and during menstruation), and the rapid fluctuations in estrogen throughout the reproductive years also seem to increase pain. This may partially explain why TMJD pain occurs much less frequently in postmenopausal women who are not on hormone replacement therapy—HRT has been linked to higher likelihood of jaw pain.

Unfortunately, despite decades of research, we still don’t know what causes TMJD. But strong evidence suggests excessive use of the jaw muscles (grinding or clenching the teeth and jaws, known as bruxis), trauma tothe joint from an accident, and, of course, stress all play a role. Stress causes widespread changes in your body—almost all of them negative—from increased muscle tension to neurological changes and even depression. Managing stress, dealing with bottled-up emotions, and a little TLC for your TMJ will help you alleviate, and possibly eliminate, your pain.

Getting to know your pain
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in treating chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. CBT helps you notice your body’s reaction to stress—how stress heightens pain and other symptoms (think tension in the body and jaw). It then offers simple techniques like guided imagery and relaxation exercises to reduce not only the experience of stress but also its impact on the body—increased muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure, all of which exacerbate pain everywhere in the body. It’s best to work with a trained CBT therapist, but start with this simple exercise:
Counter the tension in the jaw by licking your lips slightly and then swallowing. Allow the jaw to remain in the position it naturally takes immediately after swallowing—teeth slightly apart and lips lightly touching. This natural position leaves the big chewing muscles relaxed. Practice this for three to five minutes several times a day.
Monitor your pain. A couple of times a day, take a moment to rate your pain on a scale from zero to 10, and look for patterns over time. Is your pain worse in the mornings? Do certain emotions affect it? What seems to trigger or relieve the pain?

TLC...

Author: Sam Dworkin, dds, phd

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