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TMJ And Shoulder Pain

Sherman Oaks TMJ treatment patient model with Shoulder Pain

Does your shoulder pain come as a result of TMJ? The temporomandibular joint in the jaw controls chewing, opening and closing of the mouth, and more. It's one of the root causes of a lot of disorders, but unfortunately, not many doctors, dentists, periodontists, or oral surgeons will study it. A lot of the possible problems stemming from a dysfunctional temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are attributed to other causes. One of the many results of TMJ disorder is actually shoulder pain.

tmj disorder treatment patient model in a black shirt holding his shoulder

You may ask, how does TMJ disorder cause shoulder pain? It's simple – the body is intricately connected, and an issue in one area can very easily spread to another or cause a connected section to sustain damage or suffer stress and strain. Fortunately, Dr. Eddie Siman, TMJ Expert, has helped hundreds of individuals suffering shoulder pain and TMJ disorder.

TMJ Basics

The temporomandibular joint is located on the side of the face, connecting the hinge of the jaw to the skull. It's the small joint you can feel move when you open and close your mouth. A lot of people tend to notice it if they yawn and their clicks, or if their jaw cramps up. Otherwise, it isn't something that is generally paid attention to. Until, of course, there is damage or misalignment.

A misaligned, damaged, or otherwise impaired temporomandibular joint can create a slew of problems. The joint may not line up properly, so biting down leads to issues. Your teeth won't clench in line, and you may even end up grinding them (which is a condition known as bruxism). This misalignment can also cause the tongue to sit in the mouth at a poor angle, which can lead to sleep apnea. The airway will be blocked during sleep, and you'll have to wake up numerous times throughout the night to breathe.

How does TMJ cause shoulder troubles?

As for shoulder pain, the shoulder is connected to the neck, which supports the skull. If the temporomandibular joint is affected, the damage can travel further down the body. Chewing motions that cause you to feel pain may send signals to the neck to try and avoid additional damage, and the shoulders may get tense from overuse. Tightness in the jaw will make the neck tilt as well, which can cause undue stress on the shoulders.

The shoulder muscles are fairly small, and they are relatively weaker than other muscles in the body. It takes less stress to aggravate the shoulders, for instance. TMJ problems can make the shoulders feel tight, tense, inflamed, overused, overworked, and more.

Many people who suffer shoulder pain are not aware that it may be caused by TMJ disorder. They may visit doctors and get treatment that doesn't address the problem. Commonly, shoulder pain is attributed to basic inflammation, blunt trauma or injury, bursitis, tendonitis. Doctors may recommend taking ibuprofen, performing physical therapy, resting the shoulder, and more. They may even schedule you for an MRI or X-ray to see if there is internal damage, such as a torn labrum or rotator cuff.

However, shoulder pain caused by TMJ is much easier to treat than pain caused by muscle tears, which usually require surgery to fix.

Some of the activities that can cause shoulder pain because of TMJ disorder include:

  • Sleeping with a crooked neck
  • Slouching while working on a computer
  • Sustained positions, such as while driving or watching television
  • Repetitive head and jaw movements
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Poor posture

There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of aggravating your shoulders if you have TMJ disorder. You should avoid:

  • Chewing gum
  • Eating food that is hard or requires you to chew excessively
  • Yawning widely

Even though these activities do not use your shoulders, they do use the temporomandibular joint, which can in turn aggravate the shoulders.

Treating Shoulder Pain Caused by TMJ Disorder

tmj patient model touching her shoulder

TMJ disorder may cause pain in the shoulders, but how do you fix it?

Because the shoulder pain is not actually caused by damage in the shoulder, it will be simpler to alleviate the troubles. The TMJ joint will need to be examined; we will see what kind of problem exists, whether it's misalignment, tightness, or something else. We'll take X-rays to see how the joint functions and how the rest of your body is dealing with the damage.

Once we've identified the problem, we'll come up with a plan to deal with the troublesome TMJ. We will prescribe you a custom-fitted orthotic that you wear in the mouth while sleeping. It will help to passively correct the misalignment, which will, in turn, make your shoulders relax more and not have to bear any stress from a clenched jaw or similar issue.

In addition to the orthotic, we will also use TENS technology. This transmits small impulses that increase blood flow – the better your blood flow, the less tension you'll feel in the temporomandibular joint.

Our treatments are entirely holistic. There is no invasive surgery, no nerve reconstruction, no joint shaving.

By yourself, you can reduce pain with hot or warm compresses or practice relaxation and meditation to ease your body into a state of rest. The more tension you can release from your temporomandibular joint, the less pain you'll feel in your shoulders.

Call Dr. Eddie Siman for TMJ Help

Shoulder pain or discomfort is not something anyone should have to simply deal with, especially not if it's caused by TMJ disorder. Dr. Eddie Siman is available to help you. Our office specializes in TMJ treatments, and we know exactly how to identify the precise problems with your temporomandibular joint. We can conduct an MRI and an X-ray to have a full awareness of any problems with the joint, and we can create a plan to get you back on track. Together, we'll conquer your TMJ disorder and see to it that you are not suffering any longer.

To set up an appointment with expert TMJ specialist, Dr. Eddie Siman, contact us today and we'll book a time that works for you. We have offices in Sherman Oaks and in Beverly Hills, and we're available throughout the week.

Don't let your TMJ disorder cause you any more shoulder pain. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Eddie Siman has over 35 years of experience and is a premier TMJ and Sleep Apnea expert in Los Angeles and Orange County. Many come to Dr. Eddie Siman with severe tinnitus, migraine problems, and sleep apnea with no relief in sight. Little do these patients know that their painful symptoms are tied to the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Think outside the box and pay a simple visit to Dr. Siman today so you can finally find the source of all your pain and get rid of it once and for all.

14629 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

414 N. Camden Drive Suite #1240, Beverly Hills, CA 90403

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