Jaw or TMJ pain is a fairly typical condition reported by people after a car wreck, and it can be confusing for some doctors to identify the root of the problem. Complicating the matter, many times you won't develop TMJ pain until many weeks or months after the original injury.
Dr. Matthisen has treated many people with jaw pain after an injury, and the medical literature explains what triggers these types of problems. During a crash, the tissues in your spine are often 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 prickling or numbness in the arm and 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 TMJ works the same way. Dr. Matthisen sees this very commonly in our Anchorage office.
Studies have shown that the source of many jaw or TMJ symptoms starts in the cervical spine and that treatment of the underlying neck problem can fix the secondary headaches or jaw symptoms. The key to resolving these symptoms is simple: Dr. Matthisen will work to restore your spinal column back to health, reducing the inflammatory reaction, treating the injured areas, and removing the irritation to the nerves in your spine.
Dr. Matthisen finds 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 crash, Dr. Matthisen can help. We've been treating auto injury patients since 1995, and we can most likely 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.