Fibromyalgia and TMJ

The Symptoms of TMJ are Magnified in Fibromyalgia

tmjThe symptoms of TMJ (temporomandibular  joints) are always magnified for a person living with Fibromyalgia.  The pain experienced in FMS and TMJ is very similar.  Both have multiple trigger points in various muscle groups, creating intense pain.  These trigger points have been described as lumps or bumps that feel like knots in the muscles bringing extreme pain and aggravating the symptoms of TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ also include dizziness, neck, shoulder, back pain, headaches, pain and pressure behind the eyes, sinus problems, and headaches.  Occasionally, someone may experience blurred vision or double vision, vertigo and nausea, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing problems, and more pain in front of the ears.

There are two types of TMJ

There are two types of disorders of the temporomandibular joint—(1) Joint TMJ is caused by damage to the cartilage or ligaments of the joint.  Patients with joint TMJ may suffer from popping and clicking of the jaw joint and the inability to open the mouth very wide.  According to the American Dental Association, joint TMJ may result from arthritis, injury or dislocation.  (2) Muscular TMJ is more likely to affect people living with Fibromyalgia.  It affects the muscles used to chew and move the face, neck and shoulders.  Lack of sleep, (a main component of Fibromyalgia), stress and muscular trauma may cause muscular TMJ

The Temporomandibular Assists in Opening and Closing the Mouth

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located on each side of the head.  This joint, along with the lower jaw and jaw muscles, makes it possible to open and close the mouth.  I had experienced whiplash years ago and had become literally tongue-tied and could not open my mouth more than an inch, unable to even speak normally!

I would also take the stress of the day out on my jaw, clenching my teeth at night. A gifted massage therapist was able to loosen the tight muscles, even the muscles inside of my mouth!  My dentist at the time introduced me to a mouth guard that I would wear at bedtime that was molded to fit my teeth, assisting me to sleep more soundly.

My jaw has regained mobility,  I can even keep my mouth open for long periods in the dentist’s chair!

If not caught early enough, as a result of the clenching or grinding, the jaw joint can become damaged or dislocated resulting in clicking, ringing, and popping noises which are heard in the ears.  Chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. In extreme cases, the chronic grinding may wear the teeth down to stumps.

Patients with tooth alignment problems may need dental intervention

Missing teeth, misaligned teeth and ill-fitting dentures may also cause symptoms of  TMJ .  I had orthodontic braces at the age of 58 and just had them removed.  As I did years ago as a teen, I now have to wear a retainer.  The braces improved my bite and also allowed me to reclaim my smile.

It is upsetting, but most insurance companies do not recognize the benefits of teeth alignments or massage for the treatment of the symptoms of TMJ.  Your doctor and dentist will have to coordinate a plan and speak with the insurance company about the necessity of therapy.  Fortunately my dentist has a plan that was affordable to me, but for a massage, I go to the local school and the students get to practice their skills.

What to do to minimize the Symptoms of TMJ?

Hers is what a typical massage for TMJ is like—

Massage, as well as lifestyle changes or medications may help relax the facial muscles and relieve the pain and sleeplessness of TMJ.  Massage therapy was a blessing for me, as my jaw was tightly closed.  I have also found Yoga stretches help to keep my posture straight and the muscles flexible.  Poor posture amplifies the pain.

The Blue Green Algae has Anti-inflammatory Properties

I have also experienced a decrease in joint pain with the natural anti-inflammatory qualities of the Omega 3 oils, which are abundantly supplied in the blue-green algae.  Animal experiments and clinical intervention studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, might be useful in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. (

Don’t forget my favorite thing to do at the end of a busy day—soak in a warm Epsom salt bath for that important Magnesium (also abundantly supplied in the Algae)!  Namaste.

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