TMJ may seem like it’s just a jaw disorder. But the truth is that people with TMJ often experience symptoms throughout their body. Sometimes, these effects expand from the jaw. Joint and muscle dysfunction, nerve pressure, airway obstruction, and circulatory obstruction can all lead to systemic health problems.
Now a new study has tracked the association between TMJ and other joint problems. This doesn’t tell us whether TMJ is the cause of these other joint problems, but it highlights the interconnectedness of these conditions.
Identifying Joint Pain in TMJ Sufferers
For this study, researchers looked at 337 adults, 165 of whom had some degree of TMJ, while 172 did not have TMJ. For this study, TMJ included both a simply joint displacement–which may or may not have jaw pain and may or may not lead to other TMJ symptoms–as well as those with painful, degenerative TMJ.
When they compared the two groups, researchers found that people with TMJ were 5.5 times more likely to have pain in other joints. And they were more likely to have pain in more joints.
For people with TMJ, the average number of painful joints was three. For those without TMJ, it was two. About 60% of TMJ sufferers had pain in three or more other joints. For those without TMJ, two-thirds (67%) had pain in one joint or none.
Age correlated strongly with joint pain in the two groups. For those without TMJ, most of the individuals suffering joint pain were younger, and they mostly had knee pain, likely related to physical activity. For those with TMJ, the largest category of sufferers was aged 51 to 60 years, showing that they likely had a more degenerative condition.
Will Treating TMJ Help Other Joint Pains?
It’s hard to know whether TMJ treatment could help alleviate other joint pains. Certainly, we know that people with TMJ see some effect on their core stability . An unstable core can make many daily tasks harder on various joints, including, potentially, the knees, hips, and other lower body joints. We know that people are more likely to develop shoulder pain or tingling and numbness in the arms as well.
In some cases, it’s likely that TMJ treatment may help with other joint pains.
If you are suffering with TMJ pain as well as other symptoms, we can help. Please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at River Edge Dental, New Jersey’s center for TMJ, sleep apnea, & reconstructive dentistry.