fibromyalgia and temporomandibular joint disorder
Jaw pain and other types of pain are very common when it comes to fibromyalgia. But how do we know when it’s something more? Are there jaw issues that can come up when we area struggling with fibromyalgia? Are there disorders that we can end up overlooking if we aren’t careful? What pain and stress do you have to deal with when you’re fighting off fibromyalgia?In this article, we’re going to explore the relationship between Fibromyalgia and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. These two disorders often happen together, so it’s important to know what to look for and if there are any issues that can come up with one or the other of the disorders.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?As you likely know, your jaw is attached to your skull in a number of different ways. One of the main ways is through the temporomandibular joints. These joints are connected through all of the different ligaments and muscles that work together in order for your mouth to open and close properly. Many times, these muscles and ligaments work without an issue, but if they start to hurt or they don’t work correctly, it’s considered to be a temporomandibular joint disorder, better known at TMJD or TMJ.
What causes temporomandibular joint disorder? Actually, the cause really hasn’t been pinpointed yet, but there are a number of reasons that doctors consider temporomandibular joint disorder to start. In some cases, it’s related to anxiety – if you’re nervous, you’re more likely to clench your jaw or to do other uncomfortable motions that make it difficult for your jaw to move.
It can also end up with a lot of pain, which also makes it hard for your mouth to move properly. In other cases, it’s related to stress, which has many of the same symptoms as the anxiety. Rheumatoid arthritis is also another factor that can end up causing temporomandibular joint disorder as well, because the joints are not moving as easily as they could beforehand.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is not necessarily a huge diagnosis. In some cases, you will barely feel any pain at all that is related to the jaw issues. In other cases, you could be dealing with severe, debilitating pain that causes you to suffer from headaches, or even can make it difficult to even move around your jaw for any reason at all. The treatment for the disorder is, of course, going to be different for each person and it will depend on exactly how much pain you’re in.
Jaw Issues and FibromyalgiaSo why in the world do people with fibromyalgia end up having more problems with their jaws, and above all else, how do they end up dealing with temporomandibular joint disorder as a result of it? As with many things related to fibromyalgia, the answer is that we aren’t really sure as to why it happens. Also, chronic fatigue syndrome (which is also closely related to fibromyalgia in a number of circumstances) can end up causing temporomandibular joint disorder as well.
There are theories out there, of course. Some researchers have indicated that fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and temporomandibular joint disorder may actually fall underneath a newly classified set of disorders that some refer to as sensitivity syndromes.
In short, this family of syndromes all deal with the central nervous system and affect them in some way – also, as you may guess, there are still a lot of questions out there when it comes to how the disorders come about. In short, it’s about where they are located, instead of the cause of the disorders.
That being said, there is another reason that those with fibromyalgia may also be dealing with the issues from temporomandibular joint disorders as well. As you likely know, having fibromyalgia makes you more sensitive to all types of pain, no matter what they may be and what you may be dealing with. So, even if the pain from your temporomandibular joint disorders wouldn’t be that severe otherwise, the fibromyalgia will make it feel that much worse – thus making you more sensitive to what’s going on in your body. It can be frustrating, but this theory makes a lot of sense.
It’s hard to get a diagnosis when you are already dealing with pain, but there are a few things that you can look for that doesn’t necessarily happen when you have fibromyalgia. For example, you may already deal with headaches (and they’re quite common with temporomandibular joint disorder as well).
But, if you’re starting to notice that your jaw is clicking or you can’t move your mouth as much as you used to be able to, that’s not a symptom of your fibromyalgia – it’s likely more related to a jaw issue, and often happens with temporomandibular joint disorder. Other symptoms that may indicate temporomandibular joint disorder include a locking jaw, teeth that aren’t lining up properly, or difficulty when it comes to chewing (even soft foods).
In some cases, the temporomandibular joint disorder symptoms won’t stick around for long, but other times, you can end up dealing with them for the long run. If you’re concerned about them, you will want to talk to your dentist about how you can deal with the issues – your fibromyalgia doctor can also give you advice and guidance on your temporomandibular joint disorder pain.
Jaw issues are common, as we explored above, but that doesn’t mean that you should totally disregard them or don’t pay attention when they actually happen. That being said, you should get jaw problems checked out as soon as you possibly can. They may be a sign of something bigger, or they may show up as other issues as well. Do you have jaw problems or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder that are related to fibromyalgia? Share your thoughts and share how you cope with them with others so they can learn how to go forward with it.