Do you have a friend or loved one who is dealing with jaw pain or a temporomandibular disorder (TMD)? With up to 10 percent of Americans suffering from some form of TMD, there’s a good chance you do. But if you’ve never experienced it yourself, you may not realize how serious it can be, and how it can affect daily life.
Before you talk to someone who is dealing with this condition, take note of a few things that are not only false, but are also not helpful to the person or the situation.
Don’t say: It’s not that bad.
TMD can cause pain severe enough to interfere with life. It cause crippling headaches and even problems with eating. Chronic pain of any kind can cause depression, anxiety, and other issues. It can sap a person’s energy, making them feel confined to their house and less likely to participate in any physical activity. If it causes pain when eating, it can begin a vicious cycle of not eating enough nutritious foods and associated health issues.
TMD can be just as severe as any chronic pain disorder, and should not be minimized. If you know someone who is suffering from jaw pain, try to be sympathetic. Also, you can direct them to the MedCenter TMJ website for loads of information about this condition so they can get the help and treatment they need!
Don’t say: Can’t you just take an aspirin?
TMD is more complicated than just an occasional ache or pain. Taking a pain reliever is necessary in some instances, but the symptoms of TMD require more than just a pill. Often, a patient needs a multi-faceted approach and the care of a medical professional to address TMD and get to the root of the issue, helping to stop the pain from occurring.
Don’t say: You should take a vacation to relieve your stress, and it’ll go away.
Stress management plays an important role in treating TMD, but it is not the only factor. Even if a person temporarily reduces stress with a break or vacation, he or she needs to learn how to manage it over the long term, or the stress or anxiety will likely resurface again. Managing stress requires daily effort and building new habits, not just a trip or a fun event. In addition, treating TMD successfully requires more than stress relief. It requires a multifaceted approach to not only teeth grinding and emotional health, but any physical causes that could be contributing to the problem.
Don’t say: You should have jaw surgery to fix your problem.
Jaw surgery should only be considered when conservative methods have not provided adequate relief and TMD continues to interfere with the patient’s quality of life. This is rarely the case. In fact, in most cases surgery cannot “fix” TMD. Instead, most TMD patients find that their condition is greatly improved with the proper care from a medical professional who can help them put the jaw in the right position, avoid TMD triggers, and identify underlying medical issues that may contribute to symptoms.
MedCenter TMJ Can Help
TMD and jaw pain should be taken seriously, and require professional care. At MedCenter TMJ, we provide comprehensive care for jaw problems so our patients can live more productive, pain-free lives. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!