Arthritis refers to joint pain or joint disease, and there are many different types. It can range from mild to completely debilitating, causing joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion. It affects people of all ages, from children to older adults, and has many different causes and triggers. Though arthritis affects millions of people, it is still not a well understood condition.
The connection between TMJ and arthritis
Arthritis can strike any joint – including the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ is one of the hardest working joints in the body, used every time you chew, talk, swallow, and even when you’re breathing.
As a result, people who suffer from arthritis often experience TMJ problems. They may have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) in addition to arthritis, or it could be arthritis alone that is affecting the TMJ and causing pain and other symptoms. One study showed that 90% of people with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis, also had symptoms of TMD.
Do I have arthritis in my TMJ?
There’s no quick and easy answer to this question. Because there are many types of arthritis, a comprehensive health exam may be needed to diagnose the condition. Usually, some medical tests, health history, and discussion of symptoms will indicate whether a patient has some form of arthritis.
Arthritis can be caused by joint wear and tear, immune system problems, bacteria, viruses, and many other factors. Finding out what type of arthritis a person has and discussing the available treatments is a critical first step toward relief of jaw and other joint pain.
What to do about TMD and arthritis
There are a few different steps to take when a patient has TMJ pain and arthritis.
First, we want to ensure that the type of arthritis they have is being managed properly by a physician. This can help alleviate at least some of the symptoms of TMD that may be directly caused by their joint condition.
Next, we treat their jaw pain as we would any TMD patient – while being mindful of any arthritis treatments they may be receiving. One of the advantages of our approach is we go beyond just medications. We are able to work with patients to create a complete, holistic approach to relieving symptoms. This may include a specialized appliance, diet and exercise changes, gentle stretches, stress management, and complementary and alternative medicine. Our advanced methods of viewing the jaw joint will allow you to see the changes occurring in your jaw joints over the treatment period.
At MedCenter TMJ, we have the knowledge and expertise to treat many different causes of TMD and orofacial pain. Don’t wait any longer to get this issue addressed – contact us today!