Jaw, or temporomandibular joint pain is common after an auto collision, even when there is no one-on-one trauma to the face. The problem can be bewildering to health care providers, as, oftentimes, the jaw problems may not develop right away after the trauma, quite often developing weeks or perhaps months later.
New research over the last ten years suggests that jaw discomfort after an auto injury in fact originates in the spine.
When your neck is damaged during a wreck, the pain signals travel from the vertebrae to your brainstem. Here, nerve fibers from many different areas of the body meet together before they travel to the pain hubs of your brain.
When these nerves converge, the information can get confused and crossed. It's akin to the arm pain experienced by a person having a heart attack. The nerve messages from the heart cross with the nerve signals of the arm, and the person feels the discomfort in the arm instead of the genuine source.
The nerves of your face connect in the neck with pain receptors from your spine. When chronic pain impulses from your injury overstimulate the nerve junctions, you can feel pain in other parts of your head, including your jaw.
And as the jaw is experiencing discomfort, it can cause the muscles in the area to tighten, causing more pain.
Chiropractic helps by helping your body repair the primary damage in the neck, which then reduces pain in other parts of your body.
If you have been in an auto collision, Dr. Ernst is here to help. We can help identify the underlying source of your pain and develop a treatment plan to help you reclaim your health. We've helped many patients in Arlington, WA heal from these sorts of injuries since 1990 and we might be able to help you!
Call our office today at (360) 659-8464 for a consultation or for more advice.