Sunday, April 25, 2010

TMJ in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Written by Adrienne Dellwo, Guide, for

( - Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) causes jaw pain, and it's more common in people with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) than it is in the general population.

More than 10 million people in the United States are believed to be affected by the jaw pain TMJ, and the disorder is more common in women than in men.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your skull. They're stabilized by muscles and ligaments that open and close your mouth. Pain or tenderness in or around the joints is referred to as a TMJ disorder.

The causes of TMJ disorders still aren't well-known, but most experts agree that jaw trauma can lead to it. Other conditions associated with TMJ include:

The pain of TMJ can range from mild to severe and treatment generally depends on the severity.

Why Do Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and TMJ Disorder Go Together?

We don't know yet why people with FMS and ME/CFS appear to be more prone to TMJ. When TMJ occurs first, it's possible that the pain of TMJ could contribute to the development of central sensitization, which is believed to be a key component of FMS and ME/CFS. When FMS or ME/CFS happens first, TMJ may be related to lax connective tissues believed to be associated with those conditions.

Since people with FMS and ME/CFS feel pain more acutely than others, they may suffer more from disorders, such as TMJ.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorders are most often diagnosed and treated by dentists. There's no single widely accepted test for TMJ. Your dentist may check the jaw for tenderness, popping, clicking and difficulty opening and closing your mouth. Your dentist may also see how your teeth fit together by taking an x-ray and a mold of your mouth.

It's a good idea to ask your regular doctor to rule out other causes of facial pain, such as sinus headaches or earaches. Also, if you have myofascial pain syndrome (which is common in people with FMS), trigger points on the sternocleidomastoid muscles in the front of the neck can cause jaw pain. It's unknown whether these kinds of trigger points actually cause TMJ or just cause similar symptoms.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

TMJ symptoms, other than headaches, are quite distinct from symptoms of FMS and ME/CFS. TMJ symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Discomfort or difficulty chewing
  • Painful clicking in the jaw
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Headaches
  • Locking jaw
  • Teeth that don't come together properly
Treating TMJ Disorder

In some cases, TMJ symptoms go away on their own. If you have persistent symptoms, your doctor may recommend either conservative treatments or a more aggressive approach.

Conservative TMJ treatments include:

More aggressive treatments include:

  • Orthodontics
  • Surgery

These aggressive treatments are controversial, so you may want to get a second opinion before considering them.

TMJ Treatment vs. Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment

TMJ treatments don't generally interfere with FMS or ME/CFS treatments. Ice packs, however, may be difficult for you to tolerate because of the temperature sensitivity common with FMS or ME/CFS. Also, surgery may be less attractive, because it can exacerbate FMS and ME/CFS symptoms, making recovery more difficult. Also, some experts believe that many people with ME/CFS are sensitive to certain types of anesthesia, although this has not been proven in clinical studies.

Any time you're taking medication for more than one condition, you should talk with your doctor and pharmacist about possible drug interactions.

Living With TMJ Disorder and Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The pain of TMJ can make your FMS or ME/CFS more difficult to manage, but treating your TMJ can keep it from worsening other symptoms.

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health are conducting a wide range of studies to better understand the pain process, including the facial pain of TMJ and what it has in common with disorders involving widespread muscle pain. This research could help us better understand TMJ and its relationship to FMS and ME/CFS, leading to better treatment as well.


American Dental Association. All rights reserved. "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome"

British Journal of Anaesthesia. All rights reserved. "Anaesthesia for patients with idiopathic environmental intolerance and chronic fatigue syndrome."

Lapp, Charles W., MD, Hunter-Hopkins Center. All rights reserved. "Recommendations for Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or Fibromyalgia) Who are Anticipating Surgery"

National Institute of Dental and Craniofascial Research. "TMJ Disorders"


Louis said...

It's really great to know what TMJ disorder is and its effects. Thanks a lot for sharing that valuable information.

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rain said...

Check with a specialist to cure the illness.

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ben said...

There are medical professionals who can attend to your health.

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Laurence said...

Proper oral health will make you stay away from illness.

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Anonymous said...

At least there are treatment available. See to it that you also prevent the condition from worsening.


Daniel Bryan said...

In some cases, TMJ may require surgery as well as pain killers to deal with. Orthopedics will advise you if TMJ needed surgery.
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Tyrone87 said...

I suffered from TMZ when I was a teen. It required me to undergo surgery to fix my jaw alignment.

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jenny rain said...

Always consult your dentist if problem occurs, even mild pain they know what's best for you.

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Thomas said...

Most sever types of TMJ will require you to undergo surgery. Not doing so immediately will lead to further damage and other health hazards.

Mr.Filbert. Hutchison said...

You should always check if the dentist is an accredited one. Safety is very important. Thank you and have a nice day.
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Maia Dobson said...

I know how difficult it is to be suffering from TMJ because I had one before. What makes it worst is that it triggers timely denture repair that's why it's even more painful.

Marco Phillipstein said...

My friend was endorsed by her dentist to a surgeon to treat her TMJ. She had to undergo botox just to ease the pain. I'm just wondering, what causes TMJ?

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Ryan Phelps said...

I have TMJ before and consulted a neuromascular dentist. I remember he first measure the most relaxed position of my jaw to determine the goal for normal jaw positioning. Then the dentist works to realign the bite and restore the teeth and thus the jaw and joints to their optimal position. Once the bite is realigned and the jaw is in place, pain that resulted from the imbalance disappears.

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Jake Phillips said...

My friend undergone TMJ treatment and he has told me that his neuromascular dentist said that he's selection of treatment really depends on if he wants immediate relief of jaw pain, or relief on a more permanent basis. The treatments may not be the same to achieve both.

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Marshal Drake said...

Didn't knew that tooth problem can cause chronic fatigue syndrome. Locking jaw isn't comfortable at all when it happened to you.
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Kyle Xanders said...

I have to agree with you that some of the aggressive treatments you have posted above are controversial, so you may want to get a second opinion before considering them. You need to consider a reliable neuromascular dentist to consult with.

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jessie bobsy said...

You have to consult a neuromascular dentist to check on you. I have a friend your suffered from TMJ and he has an incredible neuromascular dentist.There are medical professionals who can attend to your health.

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George Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George Smith said...

TMJ is a very painful disorder. if you suspect that you are suffering from TMJ, go consult a neuromascular dentist to treat i as early as possible. Prevention is always better than cure.

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Unknown said...

A friend of mine had TMJ disorder that made her suffered from its pain for a very long period of time until she went for a visit to a dentist in mobile. When she consulted the specialist, they told her that her case already needs operation and thankfully the dentists and other specialist there were able to help her go through a successful operation.

Jackie said...

Visit your dentist for regular checkups please!
Best wishes!