How TMD (TMJ Disorder) Is Associated With Other Diseases

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TMJ and other diseases

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMD has a prevalence of approximately 5 to 12 percent.

Due to the growing number of people suffering from this syndrome, people are becoming more and more eager to learn about it.

“Is TMD associated with other diseases?”

This is a question that usually pops up when it comes to this disorder. Fortunately, we’re here to answer this question for you.

Yes, there are several diseases that can be associated with TMD.

According to the TMJ Association, there are several conditions that are popular among TMD patients. These conditions appear much too regularly among TMD patients to attribute them to coincidence.

Most of these conditions occur in women.

 

1. Cardiac arrhythmia

TMD has been linked to cardiac arrhythmia.

Arrhythmia is characterized by extremely fast, extremely slow or irregular heartbeats. Although arrhythmias are usually harmless, they can be life-threatening.

Serious symptoms of arrhythmia include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Cardiac arrest

 

2. Sleep disorders

TMD has also been associated with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

TMD is characterized by the presence of a misaligned jaw which makes it easier for your tongue to block your airways. This makes sleeping uncomfortable due to troubled breathing.

Also, TMD makes you clench and grind your teeth leading to sleep disturbances.

Both these TMD symptoms directly lead to sleep apnea.

Interestingly, the National Institutes of Health reports that it’s common for people suffering from sleep apnea to experience cardiac arrhythmia also.

 

3. Vulvodynia

This condition is exclusively experienced by women.

It is characterized by chronic pain in the vulva. The pain can be localized in one area or spread across the entire vulva.

It may be experienced constantly or upon provocation of the vulva.

It is common for people with this syndrome to also suffer from endometriosis.

Studies have directly linked vulvodynia to TMD.

In fact, 78% of women suffering from provoked localized vulvodynia have also been found to experience orofacial pain such as TMD.

 

4. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects the whole body.

It affects approximately 10 million Americans and is characterized by muscle pain and fatigue throughout the body.

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Problems with focusing and paying attention.
  • Problems with your memory
  • Sleep problems
  • Tender points
  • Urination problems

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health estimate that about 75% of fibromyalgia sufferers also suffer from TMD. However, only around 18.4% of TMD patients also have fibromyalgia.

This was attributed to the fact that fibromyalgia sufferers have lower pain thresholds.

Apart from TMD, there are also other conditions that tend to overlap with fibromyalgia. These include interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, and endometriosis.

People with fibromyalgia are also known to suffer from sleep apnea.

 

5. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is yet another pain condition that tends to overlap with TMD.

This is a pain condition that exclusively affects women. Endo-online estimates that about 6.3 women and girls in the U.S suffer from this condition.

Its main symptom is pain before and during periods.

Sufferers of this condition also experience pain during sexual intercourse and upon insertion of tampons.

Other symptoms include infertility, fatigue, nausea, and constipation.

 

6. Irritable bowel syndrome

It is a known fact that pain disorders usually come in packs.

Therefore, if you have TMD, it is likely you have experienced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

This is an incurable lifelong illness that affects the large intestine.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is twice as more likely to occur in women than in men. It is characterized by uncomfortable or painful bowel movements.

There are four types of this disease as listed below:

  • IBS-C: This type of IBS is characterized by the presence of constipation as a symptom
  • IBS-D: This type of IBS is characterized by the presence of diarrhea as a symptom.
  • IBS-M: Mixed IBS presents itself through the presence of both constipation and diarrhea.
  • IBS-U: Unsubtyped IBS is known for having very little occurrence of either constipation or diarrhea.

 

7. Interstitial cystitis

Yet another incurable disease that often affects women, interstitial cystitis affects your urinating habits.

It makes you have a persistent need to urinate regardless of how small the amount of urine produced.

Other symptoms associated with this condition include pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person.

Some people’s symptoms come and go while other people experience symptoms constantly.

Research shows that having fair skin and red hair put you at risk of developing interstitial cystitis.

Also, it’s associated with other pain disorders such as TMD, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia.

 

8. Migraines

According to Cleveland Clinic, TMD can be associated with migraines.

Migraines are generally repetitive chronic headaches. People who have migraines usually experience a throbbing sensation on the side of their heads.

Migraines can be excruciating and last for several days.

Before a migraine attack, there are usually some warning signs such as nausea and blurred vision.

Grinding and clenching of your jaw, a symptom of TMD can be a prerequisite for migraines.

 

9. Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis is a chronic disease that is mainly characterized by extreme fatigue.

This disease shares some symptoms with TMD and is common among TMD patients.

Its symptoms include:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Constant sore throats
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Joint pain
  • Irritability and depression

Apart from TMD, this disease is also associated with other diseases such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis.

 

10. Allergies

TMD and allergies have been linked severally.

Although allergies don’t cause TMD, they have similar symptoms such as facial pain and dizziness. Sometimes TMD is even misdiagnosed as an allergy.

Research shows that sufferers of TMD are three times more likely to experience allergies such as sinuses.

Ultimately having allergies increases your risk of getting TMD.

These two conditions are also known to coexist together.

 

11. Vertigo

Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness that is caused by a problem with a small structure in your inner ear known as the labyrinth.

The labyrinth controls your state of balance by the use of the fluid inside it.

When you develop TMD, this fluid is disrupted leading to feelings of dizziness.

 

Conclusion

If you have been asking yourself whether your TMD is associated with other diseases, it may be.

Generally, TMD usually comes with a bunch of comorbid conditions such as the ones explained above.

In fact, NIH studies show that having a pre-existing pain condition makes it four times more likely for you to develop TMD. Additionally, having a history of pain conditions also puts you at risk.

These conditions greatly affect the nature of your TMD and the severity of your symptoms.

It’s also important to note that genetics play a major role in the development of TMD and other pain conditions.

There is, therefore, a need to take a multifaceted approach to diagnosis and treatment of TMD. Failure to do so may lead to recurrence of symptoms.

In fact, patients who experience a variety of comorbid conditions may not get relief from oral appliance therapy alone.

They should, however, be referred to a multidisciplinary pain clinic.




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