Imagine what it would be like to clench and grind your teeth every time you stand in line at the grocery store. Or, picture having chronic jaw pain to the point that you skip social events with friends so you can avoid talking.
This is the reality of people who suffer from TMJ disorders. The temporomandibular joint disorder occurs when your jaw is unstable or damaged, and it impacts your life.
You might want to know how long does TMJ last? What causes it? How do you manage the pain?
Find out the answers to these questions and more by reading our complete guide.
How Long Does TMJ Last
TMJ can cause pain, stiffness, clicking, and other discomforts in the jaw or face. It can be short-lived and come and go, or it can be chronic and last for years. The duration and severity of symptoms depend on the underlying cause.
Generally, if the cause is identified and treated, TMJ flareups can last for weeks at a time. But, if the cause is not identified or managed, episodes of TMJ can be recurrent and last for months or longer.
Knowing the common causes can be a useful tool in managing symptoms and preventing flare-ups. These causes can range from stress and habit-related jaw movements to medical conditions such as arthritis to structural problems with the jaw joint itself.
Other causes also include tooth grinding, poor posture, stress, and malocclusion, among other factors. Keeping these causes in mind is important for avoiding TMJ flare-ups and managing them should they occur.
Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ symptoms can range from mild to severe. It includes pain in the jaw joint, a clicking sound when opening or closing the jaw, difficulty opening or closing the jaw, limited jaw movement, headache, facial pain, tenderness, tinnitus, and headache or dizziness. If any of these symptoms worsen or persist over time, it is important to see a medical professional for treatment.
The key to finding lasting relief is to identify the triggers and strategies that help manage symptoms. To start, try using ice or heat to reduce inflammation and alternate your jaw activities to reduce strain on the joint.
Certain exercises may help provide relief, as can relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation. Massage and over-the-counter medications can also help. In some cases, devices called bite splints or mouth guards may be prescribed.
In serious cases, surgery may be required. TMJ is very treatable with a variety of relief strategies, so don’t hesitate to seek further help from an experienced TMJ specialist if needed.
When to See a Doctor
TMJ can last for a long time if not treated, and flare-ups can be unpredictable. The good news is that it is possible to reduce flare-ups and other symptoms with some simple strategies.
Generally, TMJ symptoms should improve within a few weeks. If symptoms persist, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. If pain is severe or worsens, doctors should be consulted as soon as possible, as this may be indicative of a more serious problem.
Get on the Path to Pain-Free Living Today
TMJ is a complex problem with varied causes. Now that you know how long does TMJ last, with proper care and lifestyle modifications, flare-ups can often be managed in the short term. Speak to an experienced healthcare provider to help identify the best plan for your individual needs.
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