Jaw or TMJ pain is a fairly typical problem experienced by many people after a car crash, and it can be confusing for some physicians to identify the source of the problem. Complicating the issue, many times you won't develop TMJ pain until many weeks or months after the accident.
Dr. Holcombe has helped many people with jaw pain after an injury, and the medical literature explains what produces these types of problems. During a crash, the tissues in your neck are frequently stretched or torn, causing ligament, muscle, or nerve injury. This can clearly cause pain in the neck and back, but since your nervous system is one functioning unit, inflammation of the nerves can cause issues in other parts of your body.
For example, with radicular pain, irritation of a nerve can cause prickling or pins and needles 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 collision are very common because of neck injury, and the jaw works the same way. Dr. Holcombe sees this very often in our Arlington, VA office.
Research indicates that the root of many jaw or TMJ symptoms starts in the neck and that treatment of the underlying neck injury can fix the secondary headaches or jaw symptoms. The trick to dealing with these symptoms is simple: Dr. Holcombe will work to return your spine back to health, decreasing the inflammatory reaction, treating the injured tissues, and removing the irritation to the nerves in your spine.
Dr. Holcombe has found that jaw and headache symptoms often resolve once we restore your spine to its healthy state.
If you reside in Arlington, VA and you've been hurt in a crash, Dr. Holcombe can help. We've been treating auto injury patients since 2000, and we can probably help you, too. Give our office a call today at (703) 933-9000 for an appointment or consultation.
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.