The chronic pain of a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can be debilitating for many people. Whether it’s headaches, jaw pain, back or neck pain, or some combination of these, the pain often can’t be ignored and can’t be cured with common painkillers.
And to add insult to injury, any type of chronic pain and inflammation can affect other systems in the body, including your digestion. This is why many people with TMD experience nausea regularly, though they may not realize that it is a result of TMD.
Nausea and TMJ Pain
It’s been well documented that people who live with chronic pain often experience nausea and other digestive problems. The excess of pain signals being sent to the brain can overload the nervous system, which upsets the easily-aggravated stomach.
In addition, TMD pain can cause stress or several reasons, which can all easily trigger nausea. Living with chronic pain can make a person feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. These are major nausea contributors. Not to mention, the stress of dealing with daily activities such as work and family while coping with pain can be a major obstacle for TMD patients.
We all know that severe headaches such as migraines can cause nausea and vomiting as well. Many people with TMD are prone to migraines, or find that the two conditions are actually connected.
Finally, lack of sleep can cause nausea in many people. When the body doesn’t get the rest it needs to rejuvenate itself, it can take a toll on the gastrointestinal system. And when you have pain from TMD, proper sleep can be difficult to achieve.
Relieving Nausea the Right Way
One thing is for certain: taking pain killers on an empty stomach can set you up for severe nausea. If you must take pain relievers, be sure you’ve eaten a healthy meal or snack first.
It’s hard to find an effective, safe remedy for nausea on drugstore shelves. Prescription products exist, but these should only be used in severe circumstances under a doctor’s guidance.
We try to find natural, holistic ways to help patients with nausea while treating TMD symptoms. Some great ways to alleviate nausea and stomach upset related to TMD include:
- Essential oils such as ginger, peppermint, lemon, and specialized blends that are targeted toward the digestive system
- Herbal teas that include ginger, fennel, peppermint, and other stomach soothing herbs
- Acupressure or acupuncture
No single nausea remedy is right for everyone. As part of your TMD treatment plan, we will discuss all your symptoms and help you find ways to effectively treat all your symptoms that are interfering with your life, whatever they may be.