Everything You Need to Know About TMJ and Trigeminal Neuralgia
Have you ever experienced pain or discomfort in your jaw or face and wondered what might be causing it? If so, you're not alone. In fact, many people suffer from conditions like TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia that can cause severe discomfort and impact daily life.
If you want to learn more about these conditions and how to treat them, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we will explore everything you need to know about TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia, from what they are and what causes them to the most effective treatment options available.
We'll cover everything from common symptoms to potential risk factors, as well as some natural remedies and preventative measures that you can take to keep these conditions at bay. Whether you're already dealing with TMJ or trigeminal neuralgia or want to learn more about them, this blog has got you covered.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia. We hope this blog is informative and helpful in your journey toward better health and well-being!
Causes of Facial Pain
Facial pain is relatively common and can affect any part of the face. Although it is often caused by headaches or injuries, there are numerous other causes. These include oral infections, nerve conditions, and jaw or dental problems. This type of pain can originate from a particular region of the face or radiate from another part of the head.
There are four different types of facial pain, each with a different root cause.
* Nerve Pain: Also referred to as neuralgia, this type of facial pain is associated with conditions that affect the facial nerves.
* Dental Pain: This facial pain is associated with teeth and gum problems.
* Vascular Pain: This type of pain results from issues affecting the blood vessels and blood flow.
* Temporomandibular Pain: This pain is associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the jaw muscles.
So, what causes these different types of pain?
Injuries are some of the most common causes of facial pain. Facial injuries such as falls, impacts, cuts, blows, and others can damage facial nerves and lead to facial pain. In some cases, surgical procedures performed on the face, for example, cosmetic procedures, can damage the nerves and lead to facial pain. Facial pain caused by injuries is often characterized by numbness, tingling, and, in some cases, paralysis in and around the affected region.
Headaches are another common cause of facial pain. It is important to note that there are different types of headaches, most of which can lead to facial pain. Here are some types of headaches that can lead to facial pain.
- Migraine headaches: Facial pain is a common symptom of migraine headaches. These headaches are usually sudden and severe and often affect only one side of the face. Some people with migraines report experiencing an aura of blinking lights just before the onset of pain.
- Cluster headache: This sudden type of headache tends to cause intense pain around the eyes, temple, and nose. This pain can radiate to the back of the head. Apart from severe pain, other symptoms include red, swollen eyes and a runny nose. People with cluster headaches also have increased sensitivity to light, sound, and certain smells.
This condition arises when your sinuses get infected. Sinuses are small cavities found behind the nose near the cheekbones. Sinusitis is associated with symptoms such as a runny nose, pain, and pressure around the nose and forehead.
Sialadenitis refers to the infection of the salivary glands, particularly the submandibular gland under the chin and the parotid gland in front of the ear. This can lead to pain around your cheek and chin. Symptoms of sialadenitis include fever, swelling on one side of the face, and foul pus that drains into your mouth.
v) Tooth Abscess
This occurs when bacteria infect your teeth, gums, or jawbone. This causes pus build-up creating pressure that can lead to a throbbing pain that radiates to your jaw, face, and neck.
vi) TMJ disorders
The temporomandibular joints connect the lower jaw to the skull. These joints are found on both sides of the head, just below the ears. "TMJ Disorders" refers to conditions that lead to pain and movement difficulties in the jaw joint and muscles. This pain can radiate to your face leading to facial pain.
vii) Trigeminal Neuralgia
This refers to a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve located at the base of the brain. It is often caused by trigeminal nerve compression, underlying medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, and nerve damage. People with this condition often experience pain on one side of the face, but it can also affect both sides.
This article focuses on two leading causes of facial pain: TMJ disorders and Trigeminal Neuralgia. Therefore, we will discuss everything you need to know about these two conditions in detail.
TMJ vs TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA
What is TMJ?
As we discussed earlier, the temporomandibular joint attaches your lower jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. The temporomandibular joints are found in front of both ears. They allow you to move the jaw up and down and side to side, which helps you to chew, talk, and yawn.
TMJ disorders, otherwise known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), refer to issues that affect the jaw and muscles in your face that control the temporomandibular joint causing pain.
TMD often affects people aged between 20 and 40, and it can cause pain on one or both sides of the face. The symptoms can be temporary or last for many years.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
It is difficult to establish the exact causes of TMJ disorders. However, dentists believe a combination of factors such as injury, genetics, or arthritis may cause the pain. Symptoms arise from issues affecting the muscles of the jaw or parts of the temporomandibular joint. With this in mind, here are some common causes of TMD.
* Injuries to the joint, jaw, neck, and head muscles, for example, from a heavy blow or whiplash.
* Clenching the teeth, which can put pressure on the joint
* Tightening the facial and jaw muscles, for example, due to stress
* Movement of the disc between the ball and the socket of the temporomandibular joint
Symptoms of TMJ
The common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders include:
* Pain or tenderness in the jaw, particularly at the area of the joint. This pain can also affect the neck and shoulders and in and around the ears when chewing, speaking, and opening the mouth wide.
* Difficulties opening the mouth wide
* Grating and popping sounds in the joint whenever you open or close your mouth or when you chew
* A feeling of fullness in the ear accompanied by ringing or popping sounds in the ear
* Swelling on the side of the face
* Blurred vision
* Difficulties chewing
* Jaws getting locked in the open or closed position
* Stiff or sore jaw or neck muscles
* Facial pain, oral pain, cheek pain, and numbness in the chin
* Muscle spasms in the jaw
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal Neuralgia, or tic douloureux, is a sudden and severe facial pain originating from the trigeminal nerve. It is described as an intense, stabbing, and electric shock-like pain. It is considered one of the most excruciating pains that one can experience. This is the most common cause of facial pain, especially among people over 50.
It typically affects only one side of the face and is usually concentrated on the lower part. Sometimes it can affect both sides of the face, but it only does so one side at a time.
Causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia has numerous causes. However, the most common cause of TN is trigeminal nerve compression. The trigeminal nerve transmits pain and touch sensations from your face, teeth, and mouth to your brain.
When a healthy artery or vein presses on the part of the nerve inside the skull, over time, the pulse of the blood vessels can wear or damage the protective insulation of the nerve known as the myelin sheath. This leaves the nerve exposed and highly sensitive.
People with underlying conditions such as multiple sclerosis have a high risk of developing trigeminal neuralgia since this disease causes the nerve's myelin sheath to deteriorate.
In rare cases, this condition can be caused by a tumor compressing the nerve.
Oral surgery, sinus surgery, and facial trauma can injure the trigeminal nerve resulting in neuropathic facial pain.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia
* Sudden attacks of intense stabbing pain lasting from a few seconds to 2 minutes
* Pain that affects the teeth, lower jaw, upper jaw, and cheek and very rarely occurs in the forehead or eye
* Intense flashes of pain triggered by vibration or contact with the face or cheek, for example, when shaving, brushing, talking, drinking, washing the face, or being exposed to wind.
* Constant throbbing or burning sensations between episodes of intense pain
* Regular episodes of severe pain for days or weeks at a time
* Periods of complete relief may be experienced, lasting months and even years
* Increased anxiety due to the possibility of pain recurrence
How Stress & Anxiety Can Make These Conditions Worse
How stress and anxiety affect TMJ
Stress and anxiety help your body deal with difficult situations. However, they can harm your overall health if you experience them for an extended period. Chronic or long-term stress can cause symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, and muscle pain. They are also commonly associated with teeth grinding. Constant grinding and clenching lead to jaw misalignment and chronic neck and muscle strain, thus causing and maintaining temporomandibular joint disorders.
How Stress and Anxiety Affect Trigeminal Neuralgia
Stress has been found to aggravate trigeminal neuralgia. Even though we don't understand exactly why this happens, it is commonly believed to be related to the association between stress and pain.
Numerous studies have revealed that recurring pain often causes stress-induced heightened pain sensitivity, which means the body becomes even more sensitive to pain than usual.
People who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia will experience intense pain. When they have periods of relief, their increased anxiety levels due to the fear of returning pain can trigger another attack's onset.
Check out these 10 tips to effectively manage stress.
Trigeminal neuralgia and TMJ treatment begin with medications; if these fail (and, unfortunately, they often do), you may need to explore other treatment options.
Surgery is often the 'go-to' option after less invasive treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia have been exhausted. This is usually done after the diagnosis has been confirmed with an MRI scan or another neuroimaging test. Surgical procedures are meant to stop the blood vessel from compressing the nerve or removing the nerve causing the pain. Types of surgical procedures include Microvascular Decompression (MVD), Stereotactic Radiofrequency Lesion (RFL), Stereotactic Radiosurgery, and Rhizotomy.
These surgical procedures are associated with common and unpleasant side effects, such as decreased hearing, numbness, weakness, stroke, and other complications. This is particularly true for microvascular decompression. Facial numbness is the most common side effect of all procedures. There is also the very real possibility of pain recurrence.
According to recent research, chiropractic care can effectively treat trigeminal neuralgia. The merging of the trigeminal nerve and the first three cervical nerves in the spine can cause head pain in the trigeminocervical nucleus. Considering that the upper cervical vertebrae stimulate these nerves, chiropractic adjustments applied to these vertebrae can help alleviate trigeminal neuralgia pain.
Nutrition and Supplements
The nutritional approach to treating trigeminal neuralgia and neuropathic facial pain is aimed at helping the body restore the damaged myelin sheath. Vitamin B-12 plays a crucial role in myelin production; hence, it is often administered in treating TN.
Herbal medicines are generally used to treat underlying weaknesses in the myelin sheath itself. The idea behind herbal treatments is to strengthen the myelin sheath, thus reducing the risk of TN recurrence.
Homeopathy is one of the most preferred therapy treatments for trigeminal neuralgia. Homeopathy treats TN as a constitutional disease because it has something to do with your physical, psychological, and emotional makeup. Thus, it applies the principles of holistic medicine and aims to boost the body's healing and defense systems. It is aimed at restoring health and balance in the body.
One popular homeopathic remedy we offer is Arnica Montana, made from the arnica plant. This remedy is often used to help reduce pain and inflammation associated with injuries, bruises, and sore muscles.
Another excellent homeopathic remedy on our website is Hypericum Perforatum, made from the St. John's Wort plant. This remedy is commonly used to help alleviate nerve pain, especially in the fingers and toes.
We also offer Belladonna, which is made from the deadly nightshade plant. This remedy is often used to help relieve symptoms of fevers, headaches, and sore throats.
Homeopathy is a safe and effective way to treat a wide range of health concerns, and the remedies available on our website have been carefully selected to offer the best possible support to our customers. If you're interested in trying homeopathy, check out our selection of remedies and see which ones might be right for you!
This is a treatment technique aimed at helping you to learn to control some of your body's functions to improve a health condition. In a biofeedback session, your body is connected to electrical sensors that provide information about your body. With this information, you make specific changes to help reduce the pain associated with TN. It helps you to have more control over your body.
Managing Pain to Get Your Life Back...
Trigeminal Neuralgia is considered one of the most painful conditions, if not the most painful. Temporomandibular joint disorders can also cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. These conditions can have a significant impact on your quality of life. They can result in issues such as isolation, weight loss, and depression.
People suffering from these conditions tend to avoid doing certain things due to fear of the recurrence of pain… They stop brushing their teeth, washing their faces, and partaking in other hygiene practices, fearing triggering the pain. Numerous studies have found that trigeminal neuralgia can significantly affect one's social relationships, interactions, and ability to play a role in the community.
You shouldn't let your life be slowed down due to facial pain. There are many available effective treatments for TMJ and Trigeminal Neuralgia. While medications and surgeries have long been associated with adverse side effects, more natural and effective modes of treatment are proving to be very helpful among people with facial pain conditions.
The Bottom Line
In summary, if you're dealing with jaw pain or facial discomfort, it might be a sign of TMJ or trigeminal neuralgia. These conditions can be one of the worst pains to have (literally!). Still, there are some things you can do to alleviate symptoms and get back to feeling like yourself again.
Some of the best ways to manage TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia include gentle jaw exercises, hot and cold compresses, and natural supplements. And, of course, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about the best treatment options for you.
At the end of the day, taking care of your jaw and face is all about being proactive and staying informed. So, stay on top of your symptoms, stay in touch with your healthcare provider, and don't be afraid to try some natural remedies to help manage your discomfort. We hope you use our tips to feel better soon!