top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Andrew

TMJ and Stress: Managing Jaw Pain

Have you been experiencing jaw pain or clicking sounds when you chew? It might be TMJ dysfunction. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, often referred to as TMJ syndrome or TMD, is a common condition that affects the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. This condition can cause pain and discomfort, affecting your ability to chew, speak, and even open your mouth properly.


Understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatments for TMJ dysfunction can help you manage the condition effectively. With his holistic approach, Dr. Andrew Phelan has been successfully treating TMJ patients at our clinic for years. His personalized treatment plan can help to relive your symptoms. Here is one patient’s story.


Let's dive into what causes it, the symptoms to look out for, and how you can treat it.

What Causes TMJ Dysfunction?


TMJ dysfunction can be triggered by various factors, like:


  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Ever wake up with a sore jaw? Grinding or clenching your teeth, especially at night, can strain your TMJ.

  • Jaw Injuries: A bump or blow to your jaw can damage the joint.

  • Arthritis: Different types of arthritis can affect the TMJ.

  • Stress: Tension in your jaw muscles due to stress can contribute to TMJ issues.

  • Misaligned Teeth: If your teeth or jaws don’t line up correctly, it can strain your TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction


Wondering if you have TMJ dysfunction? Keep an eye out for these signs:


  • Jaw Pain or Tenderness: Feeling pain in your jaw or the muscles around it is a common symptom.

  • Chewing Difficulties: TMJ issues can make it hard or painful to chew.

  • Jaw Locking: Your jaw might lock or feel stiff, making it tough to open or close your mouth fully.

  • Clicking or Popping Sounds: You might hear clicking, popping, or grating noises when you move your jaw.

  • Earaches: Sometimes, TMJ dysfunction can cause ear pain, even though your ears are not the root cause.


Treatments for TMJ Dysfunction


Luckily, there are several ways we can help you manage TMJ dysfunction. Here are some options:


  • Self-care: Eating soft foods, avoiding gum, applying ice packs, and practicing relaxation techniques can help ease TMJ symptoms.

  • Chiropractic Treatments: Gentle exercises and stretches, along with adjustments, can improve jaw mobility and reduce muscle tension.

  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling: These treatments involve inserting thin needles into specific points to help relieve muscle tension and reduce pain. Some people find them beneficial for TMJ dysfunction.

  • Dental Treatments: A dentist might suggest a mouthguard, orthodontic treatment, or other dental options to correct alignment issues and reduce teeth grinding. We will gladly recommend a practitioner to you and partner with them on your care.


If you're experiencing TMJ symptoms, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan. A consultation with Dr. Andrew is a great first step. Learn more and contact us.


bottom of page