If you are experiencing musculoskeletal pain that is widespread along with stiffness and localized tenderness, mainly in the joints, then you could be suffering from Fibromyalgia.
This ailment is commonly accompanied by fatigue, pain in the neck, head and jaw. Doctors aren’t sure about the cause of such a condition as even physically healthy people can suffer from it. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be treated through the right methods.
This article focuses on Fibromyalgia and tightness in jaws. Here you’ll get to know more about this ailment as well as how to properly treat it.
Fibromyalgia and Tightness in Jaw
As mentioned above, some people suffering from Fibromyalgia might experience jaw or facial pain or tenderness. This can be due to a syndrome known as temporomandibular joint or TMJ.
This conditions leads to an individual to have very limited jaw movement. A lot of them also suffer from clicking, popping or snapping sounds when they try to open or close their mouths.
It can even make them experience pain within the jaw or facial muscles along with headaches and heaviness behind the eyes.
Sometime the pain is so severe that a person can’t even move. All of the tension and pain in the jaw also affects the mental health of a person as well.
The inability to move your head or even open your jaw in order to speak can make a person feel annoyed and even depressed if the condition persists for longer periods of time.
The whole ordeal can become intensified due to the fact that it is very hard for doctors to diagnose such a condition. Only the patient can report what they are suffering from as there isn’t a standard test to identify TMJ or Fibromyalgia.
It is believed that more than 10 million people in the U.S. are affected by TMJ. The said disorder has been studied to be more common in women rather than men.
Symptoms of TMJ
While a persistent headache is a symptom of TMJ or feeling tightness in the jaw, the rest of the symptoms include:
- As the name suggests, an individual suffering from this condition will experience jaw pain.
- An individual will face discomfort or even severe difficulty when trying to chew food.
- A painful clicking in the jaw occurs when a person tries to open or close their mouth.
- A locked jaw might also occur.
- When the mouth is closed, the teeth might not come together properly.
Although this ailment doesn’t give rise to any obvious physical damage or deformity, it greatly affects the body from the inside.
That is why it is also very hard to convince your doctor that there is actually something troubling you. Regardless, Fibromyalgia and tightness in jaw is a real thing that needs to be cured in order for you to function properly in your life.
Causes of TMJ
A lot of research is being done in order to understand the cause behind people suffering from tightness in their jaw.
There are people who only suffer from Fibromyalgia and tightness in jaw separately, and there are some who experience both conditions simultaneously.
While there aren’t any concrete reasons linked to the development of such an ailment, researchers seem to have narrowed down the causes a bit.
- Poor mental health or stress conditions can cause a person to suffer from this ailment.
- Microtrauma, which is a slight muscle damage, can lead to intolerable pain and fatigue. Thus, giving rise to TMJ.
- Low level of serotonin makes you pain sensitive. This can also lead towards fibromyalgia and TMJ.
- Fibromyalgia is much more common in women. According to research hormonal changes and menopause can also cause fibromyalgia. As fibromyalgia is also linked to TMJ, that is why more women are vulnerable to it compared to men.
- Sudden brain traumas can also lead towards such a condition.
- Fibromyalgia can also be the matter of heredity because like other problems it also has the genetic tendency to be transferred from parents to their offspring. This can make such genetically-vulnerable people more prone to suffer from tightness in jaw.
Treating Tightness in Jaw
Due to such a condition being difficult to diagnose, overall treatment can be tough as well. Different treatments are proposed to relieve the painful symptoms that a person is suffering from.
Here are some of the treatments you can try out if you’re suffering from tightness in your jaw. Make sure that you talk to your doctor before you start taking medications.
This is because some medications, specifically meant for fibromyalgia, might interfere with the treatment of TMJ, if you’re suffering from both conditions.
Exercise is a natural remedy and very important for this problem to be cure. A natural painkiller, called endorphin gets released in the body as the result of exercise.
A persistent routine of exercise can put an end to prolonged pain and fatigue caused by fibromyalgia and the tightness in jaw. In some cases, tightness in jaw is known to disappear on its own.
Types of Food
Due to the fact that you need to rest your jaw, it is highly recommended that you don’t chew gum or any other food item that requires a lot of chewing.
You need to relax your jaw muscles and not overwork them. Depending on the severity of the pain, it is advised that you opt for food items that aren’t too hard to bite into. Add soft foods into your diet as they are easier to chew and swallow.
Yawning is a natural thing. However, if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia as well as TMJ then you need to avoid doing it as much as possible. Don’t open your mouth too much while yawning.
Keep your hand in front of your mouth and try to keep your mouth closed as much as possible. Opening your mouth too much while yawning can cause you extreme pain when trying to close it. Some people have reported the inability to close their mouth after they’ve yawned.
Depending on your condition your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
Make sure that you take the medication on time, and immediately report to your doctor if the condition doesn’t lessen or gets worse.
As mentioned above, some medications might not be effective if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia and TMJ together.
Deal with Stress
Stress is considered to be a major factor that gives rise to such a condition. That is why it is advised to seek counseling and learn useful techniques in order to cope with the stress you might be feeling. Yoga can also help to relieve stress.
While the use of icepacks in order to treat TMJ is highly recommended, people suffering from severe fibromyalgia might not be able to do it due to increased sensitivity. So, only use icepacks to lessen the pain in your jaws if it is easy for you.
Herbs, vitamins, diet modification and other healthy mixtures, called enhanced supplements, can help to treat such a condition.
TMJ, with or without Fibromyalgia, is an actual syndrome that a person needs to get treated as soon as possible for them to continue functioning in their life.