Lifestyle Factors That Can Cause TMJ Symptoms

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If you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, then you are probably familiar with its symptoms. They include jaw pain, temple pain, headache, earache, clicking sounds when opening and closing your mouth, and popping sensations of the jaw. While bite problems, arthritis, injuries, genetics,and tooth grinding are the main causes for TMJ disorders, there are other lifestyle habits that may cause TMJ disorders. 

Gum Chewing

Chewing gum may raise your risk for developing temporomandibular joint disorders. The repetitive movements of the jaw overworks the temporomadibular joint, and over time, can cause TMJ disorder symptoms. This is because constant chewing can alter the way in which the top and bottom rows of your teeth match up with each other. If you enjoy chewing gum, try chewing smaller amounts and avoid coarser types such as bubble gum. 

If you develop jaw pain, clicking, or popping sensations of your jaw joints, see your dentist as soon as possible to learn about TMJ treatment options such as prescription pain relievers, antidepressants, mouth guards, and muscle relaxers. While gum chewing can lead to TMJ symptoms, avoiding gum may resolve your symptoms. Sometimes, TMJ only produces symptoms when the temporormadibular joints are stressed such as when you chew gum or eat hard candy. 

Violin Playing 

If you play the violin or viola you may be more susceptible to developing temporomandibular joint disorders. This is because violinists hold their instruments firmly under their chins, and coupled with jaw clenching and the anxiety of performing in front of an audience, can put extreme stress on the joints of the jaws.

Violinists may also be at a higher risk for neck and spinal disorders which may also predispose them to temporomandibular joint disorders. If you play the violin or viola seek the advice of a physical or occupational therapist to learn about proper body mechanics as they relate to musical performance. Proper positioning of the instrument and good posture may help reduce your risk for developing disorders of the jaw joints and if you already have a TMJ disorder, your symptoms may markedly improve. 

If you develop any of the above TMJ disorder symptoms, make an appointment with both your physician and dentist. When you work with both of these health professionals you are more likely to develop an effective treatment plan that will not only help prevent dental damage but will also help prevent disorders of the neck, spine, and back. While TMJ disorders sometimes resolve on their own, your healthcare professionals can recommend treatment options that will help you recover faster. Contact a clinic, like The Alpher Center, for more help.