If you suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction, you are likely already aware of the pain and stiffness caused by this debilitating condition. For some people, the pain is manageable, and goes away on its own, but for others it can be so unbearable they seek out professional help and prescription medications.
Recently, a woman in the UK made headlines for losing her teeth due to a powerful prescription painkiller that caused severe acid erosion on her teeth while treating her temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) pain. But how common is this, and if you are truly suffering, is it okay to take prescription medication to treat TMD?
What is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction?
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a condition of the jaw where the lower jaw bone essentially pops in and out of the socket, causing pain, stiffness in the jaw, neck, back and head, migraine headaches, and even tinnitus (ringing of the ears).
TMD And Medication
While TMD can be painful, the good news is that there are many options for treating the pain, but prescription painkillers are usually only reserved as a last resort. Thankfully, you can still take over the counter medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which are safe and effective and not habit forming.
Of course, you can only take over the counter medications for so long. That’s why Dr. Abelar recommends something a bit more permanent to treat your TMD. A treatment plan that actually eliminates the pain of TMD, and can even stop it altogether. Wouldn’t that be nice?
If you want to go drug-free when treating TMD pain, one of the first things you can try is warm compresses on the areas affected by pain. This will warm and soothe the surrounding muscles.
Let’s Get Physical (Therapy)!
Physical therapy for a jaw, we say? Absolutely. Training the jaw and rehabilitating the muscles surrounding the joint are the goals of physical therapy for TMJ treatment. Dr. Abelar can prescribe this to you if he feels you would be a good candidate
One of the best ways to treat your TMJ is with a custom orthotic designed to correctly position the jaw and retrain it to stay put, which is exactly what you need. You may be prescribed a mandibular device, or you may be prescribed it in combination with other treatment options, including physical therapy, orthodontics, and medication or compresses.
If you suffer from TMD or believe you might, please reach out to Dr. Abelar for a consultation today!