Fibromyalgia Jaw Pain

Are you dealing with jaw pain on a regular basis? If so, you could be experiencing a symptom of fibromyalgia. This article will discuss the connection between fibromyalgia and jaw pain.

If you are looking for relief from your pain, schedule an appointment with Virgin Islands Neurology today. Our team of experts in the U.S. Virgin Islands is ready to help!

A young woman experiencing fibromyalgia jaw pain symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Overview

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, chronic fatigue, sleep disorders (including restless leg syndrome), cognitive impairment, depression, environmental sensitivities, and digestive symptoms. It is understood that the condition amplifies pain signals and non-pain signals that travel from the nerves through the central nervous system.

The condition may develop gradually or begin suddenly after physical trauma, infection, or surgery.

There is no known cure for fibromyalgia. However, there are treatments available to manage your chronic pain.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) Overview

The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw bone to the skull. This joint can be found on both sides of the head. TMJ disorders are a type of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) that can cause pain in both the joint and the muscles that control it.

The cause of TMJ pain can be difficult to determine. Possible causes may be genetic, due to trauma, or arthritis in the jaw joints.

A female patient being treated for TMJ pain in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How Are Fibromyalgia and TMD Related?

It has been observed that fibromyalgia patients and those with other chronic pain conditions suffer more from temporomandibular disorders than others. Although the connection between the two conditions is not yet fully understood, there are some theories that could explain it.

If the TMD symptoms develop first, then it could be possible that the disorder contributes to the development of hypersensitivity of the central nervous system, a symptom of fibromyalgia.

If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia first, then it could be that related muscle relaxing leads to the development of TMD. Also, fibromyalgia patients are generally more sensitive to painful conditions, including TMD pain.

What Is the Cause of Painful Symptoms?

It is generally thought that fibromyalgia is caused by repeated nerve stimulation through the central nervous system. These repeated nerve signals can increase the levels of chemicals in the brain that signal pain.

Another contributing factor is that the pain receptors in the brain can become sensitized to the pain and overreact to nerve signals that indicate pain, as well as those that don’t.

There are a few factors that could lead to these changes, including:

What Are the Symptoms?

Some of the symptoms of TMJ can also indicate fibromyalgia. There are also some symptoms that are different. Some of the symptoms of TMJ include:

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

Fibromyalgia symptoms are more general than the symptoms felt when you have TMJ. Fibromyalgia symptoms can include the following:

  • Muscle pain
  • Head and neck pain
  • Joint pain throughout the body
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive difficulties

How Is a TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

To diagnose a TMJ disorder, your doctor may check your jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping, and any difficulty you may have in opening and closing your mouth. They may also use diagnostic tools to see how your teeth fit together, such as an X-ray or mouth molds.

You would likely get a separate diagnosis for fibromyalgia. There is no specific test for fibromyalgia, but your doctor will consider the following in determining the condition:

  1. How widespread the pain is and how you experience symptoms.
  2. Whether the symptoms have persisted at this level for at least three months.
  3. Whether there are no other explanations for the symptoms.

Your healthcare provider will need to rule out other causes of facial pain, such as sinus headaches or earaches.

Your doctor also needs to rule out another condition related to FMS called myofascial pain syndrome. It is characterized by trigger points on the sternocleidomastoid muscles in the front of the neck and can cause jaw pain.

Treatments for TMJ Jaw Pain

There are many ways of treating jaw pain related to TMJ. Some common treatments include the following:

  • Ice packs
  • NSAIDs
  • Stress reduction
  • Stop chewing gum
  • Avoid wide yawning
  • Mouth guards

If your TMJ is related to fibromyalgia, you may need further treatments for chronic pain. Our specialists offer several treatments to manage your pain. Some of our pain management treatments may include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Physical therapy

Manage Your Pain Today

If you are considering seeing a neurologist for your jaw pain, schedule an appointment at Virgin Islands Neurology today! Our specialists located in the U.S. Virgin Islands look forward to helping you resolve your discomfort. Visit us today!