Pain Awareness Month – Symptoms secondary to a greater problem

San Diego, CA, September 1st, 2016 Across the nation, the month of September has been officially declared as Pain Awareness Month. TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centres join various organizations worldwide to raise public awareness of issues in the area of pain and pain management. A Study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association October 2015 stated: “One in six patients visiting a general dentist had experienced orofacial pain during the last year. Pain in the muscles and temporomandibular joints was reported as frequently as that in the teeth and surrounding tissues in patients visiting general dentists.” Dr. Olmos International Educator and founder of T&S Therapy Centre International say “My goal is to provide pain relief and proper structure so our adults and pediatric patients can BREATHE, SLEEP, HEAL and LIVE their best quality of life.”

At TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centres we understand the complexities of craniofacial pain that are unique to each patient. Some patients experience TMJ pain and dysfunctions, some experience primary headaches (known as Migraines, tension or cluster) while others may have facial neuralgias, musculoskeletal pain or a combination of all.

TMJ is one of the conditions most frequently identified by patients. This is a very real condition caused by disturbances in the action of the jaw. Research has shown that many factors may lead to this disorder – it can occur by itself or be a part of a more complex problem. We believe that there is usually more than one factor responsible. Causes may include macro traumas: automobile accident, sports injury, accidental falls etc., or micro traumas of clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism), which causes the muscles that stabilize the joint to become fatigued from overwork resulting in head, face, jaw and muscle pain. Often the jaw problems, head and facial pain, headaches, migraines and musculoskeletal pain are symptoms of a greater problem affecting the body, much like a fever is secondary to the common flu. In the absence of an acute injury to the head or facial area, we believe the primary cause of these problems is frequently related to insufficient oxygen while sleeping i.e. an unidentified sleep breathing obstruction, Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Everyone assumes they are breathing and getting enough oxygen during sleep; few recognize that nighttime teeth grinding and clenching is an unconscious effort to prevent suffocation. This repeated action all night long over extended periods of time wears down the skeletal structure and the joints resulting in TMJ pain, headaches, musculoskeletal pain, TMJ dysfunctions and facial neuralgias.

Proper diagnosis and emphasis on origin rather than symptoms alone is key to successful, long term treatment results. After proper diagnosis, a specific non-surgical, treatment plan for rehabilitation is developed for the unique needs of each individual patient.

Facial pain, headaches and jaw problems are frequently only a symptom secondary to a greater problem affecting the body, much like a fever is secondary to the common flu. If any of the following symptoms affect your daily life or you are taking regular pain medication or sleeping aids, you may be suffering from TMD and should be evaluated by a dentist trained in diagnosing and treating these disorders.

  • Headaches – recurring or chronic
  • Earache or ear symptoms of stuffiness or ringing
  • Neck Pain or Stiffness
  • Facial Pain
  • Jaw joint sounds (clicking, popping or grating)
  • Limited ability to open or close mouth
  • Jaw locking (opened or closed)
  • Sensitive, loose or worn down teeth
  • Pain or soreness in the TM joints
  • Dizziness or Pain or difficulty chewing or swallowing

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