Jaw or TMJ pain is a fairly common condition experienced by people after a car wreck, and it can be tough for some physicians to identify the source of the problem. Complicating the matter, very often you won't develop TMJ symptoms until many weeks or months after the original injury.
Dr. Holcombe has treated many individuals with jaw pain after an injury, and the medical research explains what causes these types of problems. During a crash, the tissues in your neck are oftentimes stretched or torn, causing ligament, muscle, or nerve injury. This can clearly cause pain in the neck and back, but since your central nervous system is one functioning unit, inflammation of the nerves can cause pain in other parts of your body.
For example, with radicular pain, irritation of a nerve can cause prickling or numbness in the arm and hand. Similarly, it can affect parts of your body above the injured area, like your head and jaw. Headaches after a wreck are very common because of neck injury, and the jaw works the same way. Dr. Holcombe sees this very commonly in our Arlington, VA office.
Research shows that the root of many jaw or TMJ problems starts in the neck and that treatment of the underlying neck problem can resolve the secondary headaches or jaw symptoms. The trick to dealing with these symptoms is simple: Dr. Holcombe will work to restore your spinal column back to health, relieving the inflammation, treating the injured areas, and removing the irritation to the nerves in your spine.
Dr. Holcombe finds that jaw and headache symptoms often resolve once we return your spine to its healthy state.
If you live in Arlington, VA and you've been injured in a crash, Dr. Holcombe can help. We've been treating auto injury patients since 2000, and we can most likely help you, too. Give our office a call today at (703) 933-9000 for an appointment.
Ciancaglini R, Testa M, Radaelli G. Association of neck pain with symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction in the general adult population. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 1999;31:17-22.
Brantingham JW, Cassa TK, Bonnefin D, Pribicevic M, Robb A, et al. Manipulative and multimodal therapy for upper extremity and temporomandibular disorders: a system review. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013;36(3):143-201.