As winter transitions into spring, you may find yourself developing facial pain, earaches, headaches, and dizziness. These are all common symptoms of allergies. If you develop these symptoms, it is important to monitor any increase in discomfort and pay attention to how long your symptoms last. If your symptoms worsen over time or do not fade as the allergy season ends, your pain may be caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
Some TMJ Symptoms Resemble Allergies
TMJ is a misalignment of the joint that allows your jaw to open and close. When this joint is misaligned, it can cause a range of symptoms and may make it difficult to open and close your jaw. Some TMJ and allergy symptoms are similar enough that it is possible to mistake TMJ for allergies if symptoms first appear at the start of allergy season. One common symptom is ear pain caused by the defunct joint or surrounding muscles putting pressure on the inner ear that is housed behind the jaw. This pressure may also cause dizziness.
When the jaw is misaligned, tension builds in facial muscles, causing radiating pain that may seem like it is related to swollen sinuses. Tense facial muscles will also pull on your neck and shoulder muscles, causing muscle stiffness. The tension in your neck muscles combined with pressure on the inner ear often causes migraines to develop.
Allergies Do Not Usually Cause TMJ
Despite sharing some similar symptoms, suffering from seasonal allergies do not usually raise your risk of TMJ. In rare instances, children suffering from seasonal allergies may develop a bad bite from allergies. If allergens cause the sinus cavity to swell, a child is more likely to breath primarily through their mouth. In some cases, this may interfere with the proper development of the jaw and cause TMJ. Other than these rare occurrences, adults suffering from allergies should not experience seasonal allergies to cause TMJ flare-ups, although constant sneezing may be painful if a flare-up is already happening. Certain food allergies such as a sensitivity to gluten has been found to cause inflammation in the jaw that can lead to TMJ flare ups.
When Allergy Medication Does Not Work
If you have never been prone to allergies before or experience these symptoms beyond your usual allergy season, getting evaluated for TMJ may be a good next step. When left untreated, pain caused by TMJ may worsen and other problems may develop.
Several nonsurgical options are available to help you manage your TMJ. In many cases, a bite guard custom-fit for your mouth can realign your bite and relieve pressure from your jaw. The severity of your condition will be evaluated using x-rays, electromyography, and your symptoms. This information will help in determining the best treatment for you, be it a bite splint, changes to your teeth, chiropractic work, or other treatment options.
To learn more about treating your TMJ symptoms, please call 851-8274 for an appointment at Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.