Jaw or TMJ pain is a fairly common problem reported by many people after a car crash, and it can be hard for some doctors to find the cause of the problem. Complicating the issue, very often you won't experience TMJ symptoms until many weeks or months after the incident.
Dr. Harrell has treated many people with jaw pain after an injury, and the scientific literature explains what causes these types of problems. During a crash, the tissues in your neck are frequently 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 issues in other parts of your body.
For instance, with radicular pain, irritation of a nerve can cause tingling or pins and needles in the arm or 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. Harrell sees this very commonly in our Tumwater office.
Research shows that the source of many jaw or TMJ problems begins in the cervical spine and that treatment of the underlying neck problem can resolve the secondary headaches or jaw symptoms. The trick to dealing with these symptoms is simple: Dr. Harrell will work to restore your spinal column back to health, reducing the inflammatory reaction, treating the injured areas, and eliminating the irritation to the nerves in your spine.
Dr. Harrell has found that jaw and headache issues often resolve once we restore your spine to its healthy state.
If you live in Tumwater and you've been hurt in a car crash, Dr. Harrell can help. We've been treating auto injury patients since 2009, and we can probably help you, too. Give our office a call today at (360) 489-0635 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.