ZocdocAnswersIs TMJ pain worsened by stress?

Question

Is TMJ pain worsened by stress?

When I get really stressed I grind on my teeth and my TMJ hurts. How can I not make my TMJ pain worse when I am stressed?

Answer

TMJ pain is a common occurrence among patients. It is a problem that can be exacerbated by stress and stressful situations. It is important to speak to your physician regarding this matter. TMJ is an inflammatory disease of the temporomandibular joint which is the joint between your jaw bone, the mandible, and the temporal bone, which is the ear bone. When it is inflamed, it can cause problems with pain in your jaw when chewing and aching in the jaw. Many patients can have TMJ, especially if they grind their teeth at night. Treatment of TMJ involves anti-inflammatory medications such as tylenol, motrin or aleve. These can be taken on a regular basis during flare-ups. If patients grind their teeth at night, sometimes a mouth guard can be used to protect your teeth. This can be purchased at many pharmacies or department stores. It is important to stay away from chewing gum, especially during worsening of your TMJ pain. A soft diet while the pain is worse can also be helpful in helping to reduce pain. Eating things such as mashed potatoes, jello, soups, etc can help to reduce the tension that you are putting on the joint while eating. Please discuss your questions and concerns with your physician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.