Chronic pain and TMD

Many people suffer from recurring head, face, neck or jaw pain, but can’t seem to find help or have been told it is all in their head and there is nothing that can be done to fix the pain. With many people being victims of unresolved chronic pain following car accidents or other forms of trauma, it is important to find a proper diagnosis to help eliminate chronic pain.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the most complicated joint in the body. When damage occurs to the TMJ, it can be noticed through early clicking or popping sounds during jaw movement. Early detection can help to prevent more serious problems from developing. Chronic pain can develop with TMD, which is why it is important to get treatment immediately.

TMD is not just a single disorder; it is actually a group of painful conditions that can affect your jaw joint and chewing muscles. Because the muscles in your face and jaw are intertwined, if your jaw is misaligned, it can lead to a series of problems from your head to your back and beyond. Let’s take a look at a few different places chronic pain can occur and its relationship to TMD.

Neck and Shoulder Pain

If your jaw bone does not close evenly it can create pain in your neck and shoulders. And when the jaw muscles don’t properly function, the surrounding tissue may experience chronic stress, pain and swelling. Since your jaw muscles run from one ear to the other, as well as interact with muscles in the neck, symptoms of jaw distress may surface in the neck and shoulders. If you are experiencing unexplained pain in your neck and/or shoulders, you may be suffering from TMD.

Because of the complex anatomic, neurological and physiological relationships within your head and neck, the symptoms of TMD can appear to be those of other diseases. For this reason, it is important to visit Dr. Demerjian as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.


A misaligned jaw joint can cause the muscles in your face to constantly contract, which, in turn, can create tension or pressure from the growing muscle fibers. When you have this tension in your jaw, neck and shoulders, the body sends more blood to that specific area, which can result in higher blood pressure. Tension headaches and migraines are a common symptom of TMD, as well as teeth grinding. Many times migraine sufferers are misdiagnosed because their doctor does not realize the issue can be resolved with TMD treatment.

Pain or Pressure Behind the Eyes

Do you feel a stabbing pain behind your eyes that makes it hard to concentrate? Or maybe you are experiencing pressure on your sinuses that makes you think you are allergic to everything? Even the slightest ouch to your cheeks leaves you cringing. Why? It is widely known that if you experience pain in your face, you likely have a problem elsewhere. However, most never reach the conclusion that your eye pain is related to TMD. A bad bite dislocates the placement of the jaw and the surrounding muscles. This imbalance in the bite-jaw-muscle relationship is what causes facial pain or pain behind the eyes.

Ear Pain
The most common cause of ear pain in an adult is TMD. The temporomandibular join is located extremely close to the ear canal and middle ear. The muscles that surround the TMJ and the fascia and ligaments that hold the bones in place are intricately connected with the ear and the nerve that supports the ear. The pain frequently has persisted for several weeks and may even come and go. Often the ear pain can get worse at night or in the morning.

Facial Pain

With TMD, many patients experience facial pain. This chronic pain can include pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders. And, as previously stated, facial pain can also include pain or tenderness in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide. In order to relieve facial pain, it is important to seek proper treatment for TMD, which can be overlooked when facial pain is being examined.

As a chronic degenerative disorder, TMD may take years to develop. By visiting Dr. Demerjian, you can catch TMD before it worsens. Through proper treatment, Dr. Demerjian can help relieve your chronic pain symptoms.


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