Jaw or TMJ pain is a fairly common problem reported by people after a car crash, and it can be challenging for some doctors to diagnose the cause of the problem. Complicating the issue, many times you won't experience TMJ pain until many weeks or months after a crash.
Dr. Matthisen has helped many people with jaw pain after an injury, and the medical research explains what causes these types of problems. During a crash, the tissues in your spine are oftentimes stretched or torn, causing ligament, muscle, or nerve injury. This can clearly cause pain in the neck and back, but since your central nervous system is one functioning unit, inflammation of the nerves can cause problems in other parts of your body.
For instance, with radicular pain, irritation of a nerve can cause tingling or numbness in the arm or hand. Similarly, it can affect parts of your body above the injured tissues, like your head and jaw. Headaches after a wreck are very common because of neck injury, and the jaw works the same way. Dr. Matthisen sees this very often in our Anchorage office.
Studies have shown that the root of many jaw or TMJ problems originates in the cervical spine and that treatment of the underlying neck injury can resolve the secondary headaches or jaw symptoms. The secret to dealing with these symptoms is simple: Dr. Matthisen will work to restore your spine back to health, alleviating the inflammatory reaction, treating the injured tissues, and eliminating the irritation to the nerves in your spine.
Dr. Matthisen has found that jaw and headache issues often resolve once we return your spine to its healthy state.
If you live in Anchorage and you've been injured in a car crash, Dr. Matthisen can help. We've been working with auto injury patients since 1995, and we can probably help you, too. Give our office a call today at (907) 349-4212 for an appointment or consultation.
Ciancaglini R, Testa M, Radaelli G. Association of neck pain with symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction in the general adult population. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 1999;31:17-22.
Brantingham JW, Cassa TK, Bonnefin D, Pribicevic M, Robb A, et al. Manipulative and multimodal therapy for upper extremity and temporomandibular disorders: a system review. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013;36(3):143-201.