There’s no doubt that one of the biggest issues with temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) is the significant pain they cause — and the pain can last months, years, or longer. Unfortunately, because it is such a commonly misunderstood condition, many people go for years without a correct diagnosis, and have to live with ongoing pain as a result.
Living with day to day pain can have a negative impact on a person’s life that goes far beyond the predictable need to take pain killers.
Lower Energy and Motivation
Any kind of pain has a powerful ability to quickly drain your energy and leave you feeling unable to face the challenges of the day. It can be difficult to tackle tasks at work, deal with family or personal obligations, or even get out of bed when you’re facing yet another day with pain.
Depression and Anxiety
Pain has a direct effect on the brain, and may even be able to change its chemistry over time. This can lead to feeling depressed, sad, and hopeless — and can certainly exacerbate existing depression in people who already have this condition.
Anxiety can similarly be affected: feeling anxious about pain and wondering how you will cope with life can make a person feel very anxious and can trigger anxiety attacks in susceptible people. These are serious psychological conditions that should not be taken lightly and require medical care.
Poor Quality Sleep and Exhaustion
Lack of quality sleep affects the whole body, including the heart, immune system, muscles, and brain. If pain is keeping you up at night, your overall health will suffer — and you may feel less able to cope with pain in general. Sleep disorders are also linked to TMD. A lack of quality sleep will affect your ability to deal with TMD and will have an overall negative effect on your health and feeling of wellness.
Our social interactions play an important role in our overall well-being. If a person is feeling unmotivated, depressed, exhausted, or anxious because of pain, their social life will suffer. They may avoid get-togethers and gatherings, or friends and family members may think the person is avoiding them.
Social isolation can lead to further depression and poor mental health, creating a vicious cycle. People with TMD need the support of their loved ones to cope with this condition — feeling isolated is one of the worst things for anyone who is dealing with chronic pain.
Don’t let ongoing pain or TMD symptoms chip away at your health and quality of life Treatment is available — contact MedCenter TMJ today!