63 BEST Tips Can Anxiety and Stress Cause TMJ (Facts)

William T Johnson Jan 09, 2023
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Table of Contents
  1. Struck with a club!
  2. What is TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) and how does it work?
  3. What is TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder or Temporomandibular Disorders)
  4. What are the symptoms of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)?
  5. What is the mechanism of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)
  6. The effect of Stress and Anxiety on TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)
  7. Can Anxiety Cause TMJ?
  8. How can Anxiety cause TMJ disorder?
  9. TMJ Anxiety Vertigo.
  10. How to treat TMJ disorder?
  11. How can people manage their stress and anxiety to prevent exacerbating their TMJ symptoms
  12. How can you manage your anxiety and improve your quality of life ?
  13. Prologue... struck with a bludgeon

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only. 

Struck with a club!


As the reigning employee of the year, I was totally unprepared for my shock dismissal.


It felt as though someone had walloped me with a bludgeon - sharpening an already towering stress level.


But that wasn't all - out of nowhere came TMJ disorder!


Little did I know; this jaw-grinding agony was due to stressful circumstances...but it soon became clear that physical maladies have no qualms about manifesting thanks to tension overloads.


Talk about compounding issues: now inflammation in just one joint caused even more anguish – you better believe overwhelmed doesn’t begin to cover it!


What is TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) and how does it work?


(1/63) TMJ is the acronym for Temporomandibular Joint, which is a joint located on either side of the head or on side of the face that connects the lower jawbone with lower teeth to the temporal bones.



In short words, it is the jaw joint. And it is one of the most complex joints in the human body.


This joint can be found right in front of each ear and is responsible for enabling all movement of the lower jaw (called jawbone) - remember there is only one part of the jaw which is a moving part.


(2/63) It works with a sliding motion, allowing us to talk and chew efficiently.


The joint consists of a disc made out of cartilage, which sits between two bony surfaces that act as cushions and help to keep movements smooth.


This disc can move in different directions but can get damaged from overuse or trauma. When this happens it can cause TMJ disorder (TMD).


(3/63) The facial muscles, especially jaw muscles located around the TMJ can also become tense or painful due to anxious or stressful situations.


(4/63) Muscle pain caused by these muscle tensions can affect the temporomandibular joint, leading to an increase in pain, stiffness and limited jaw movement.


This can result in dysfunction of the jaw joints and can be accompanied by physical following symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, facial pain, TMJ pain as such, orofacial pain, myofascial pain, tinnitus, and even dizziness, and mental symptoms (anger, irritation, anxiety, etc.) which you should consult with mental health professionals on the top of normal medical help.

In some cases, stress-induced TMD (or interchangeably used term stress-induced TMJ) can cause involuntary muscle movements like clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism) which can further exacerbate symptoms associated with TMD and lead to even more discomfort.


(5/63) It is important to note that TMD can have a range of causes such as rheumatoid arthritis, genetic predisposition, or physical injury.


However, anxiety and stress can be significant contributing factors when it comes to developing TMD.


Studies have shown that high levels of stress can disrupt muscle control mechanisms within the body leading to increased muscle tension in facial muscles which can then impact the temporomandibular joint mechanism resulting in dysfunction and pain associated with TMD.


(6/63) Furthermore, research, in this recently performed by German researchers and started and expected to bring new data to future studies, has also revealed links between psychological distress such as depressive symptoms, anxiety disorders or neurological symptoms as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and risk factors for developing TMD.


(7/63) Overall, it is clear that anxiety and stress are significant factors when it comes to causing TMJ disorder (TMD).


If you are facing any issues with your TMJ then it is important to consult a qualified medical professional who can help diagnose your condition effectively so that you can get access to appropriate treatment options whether they involve physical therapy exercises, noninvasive interventions or invasive procedures such as cosmetic dentistry or orthodontic treatments.

(8/63) Additionally engaging in lifestyle changes like relaxation techniques alongside self-managed care and self-care practices such as moist heat packs, TMJ anxiety treatment compressed, and TMJ anxiety treatment hot or cold may help reduce muscle tension around your jaws offering relief from TMD-related physical symptoms allowing you to regain quality of daily life once again! Also, you can use pain medications such as pain relievers on your own to deal with the TMJ situation.

What is TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder or Temporomandibular Disorders)


(9/63) TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) is a condition that can affect the most complex joints in the body, which can cause muscle pain and dysfunction.


It is caused by a misalignment of the jaw joint, disruption to the disc found between the bony surfaces of the jaw joint, and can also be associated with tightness or spasms in the muscles of the face and neck.


This can lead to painful symptoms such as limited range of motion with the jaw, clicking or popping in the joint, headaches, muscle fatigue, sensitive teeth and can even cause dizziness due to a disruption in blood flow through blood vessels.

(10/63) The exact underlying cause of TMJ disorder can vary from individual to individual however psychological components (all psychological factors) can play an important role in its development.


Research indicates that high levels of stress can lead to increased tension within facial muscles which can then impact the temporomandibular joint leading to dysfunction and pain associated with TMD.


(11/63) Furthermore, anxiety disorders as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been linked to an increased risk of developing TMJ problems.


Additionally, individuals who tend towards bruxism or grinding their teeth are also more likely to experience symptoms related to TMD.


(12/63) As such anyone experiencing TMJ pain or discomfort associated with TMD must seek help from a qualified medical professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment options tailored according to your needs.


Noninvasive methods such as physical therapy exercises, relaxation techniques and self-care practices like moist heat packs can be useful ways of promoting healing and reducing associated symptoms whilst offering relief from discomfort caused by TMJ disorder.


(13/63) For individuals who need more comprehensive treatment, there is a variety of ways including different options available such as orthodontic treatments or cosmetic dentistry procedures.

In any case, it is essential that both physical health, as well as psychological component, are addressed when seeking relief from TMD-related issues for best results!


What are the symptoms of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)?


(14/63) The symptoms of TMD can vary from person to person.


However, the most common following symptoms include limited range of motion with the jaw, clicking or popping in the joint, headaches, muscle fatigue, and TMD pain around the jaw, neck and face areas.


(15/63) A common condition in TMD is difficulty chewing, earache-like sensations, dizziness due to disrupted blood flow, clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism), and facial asymmetry due to changes in the way that muscles balance each other when opening and closing your mouth.


(16/63) In some cases, individuals can also develop tinnitus which can be caused by disruption of blood flow or nerve activity within the middle ear.


It is important to note that many of these symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated so seeking professional help sooner is always recommended.


(17/63) It can be difficult to diagnose TMJ disorder as it can be associated with a combination of factors ranging from physical issues such as misalignment of the jaw joint or trauma to psychological factors such as common symptoms of stress and anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders.


However, both physical health, as well as psychological components, must be addressed when seeking relief from TMD-related issues for best results!

(18/63) Additionally engaging in lifestyle changes like relaxation techniques alongside self-care practices such as moist heat packs may help reduce muscle tension around your jaws offering relief from TMD-related symptoms and allowing you to regain quality of life once again!


What is the mechanism of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)


(19/63) The mechanism of TMD can be complex, often involving a combination of physical, mental, and emotional stress.


It can be caused by misalignment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinge joint that connects the lower jawbone to the temporal bones on either side of your face.


When this joint becomes misaligned due to traumatic injury or stress, it can cause pain and discomfort in the surrounding muscles and joints.


(20/63) Additionally, muscle tension can cause involuntary muscle movements or spasms in these areas leading to grinding of teeth (bruxism) and even further restrictions in the range of motion for the TMJ.


This can lead to a feedback loop of pain and discomfort as well as other symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, earache-like sensations, dizziness due to disrupted blood flow, facial asymmetry due to changes in how muscles balance each other when opening and closing your mouth, sensitive teeth or cracks in teeth from excessive tooth grinding or clenching (also known as bruxism).


(21/63) In severe cases, individuals can even experience panic attacks or sleep apnea due to disruptions in blood flow caused by restricted muscle movement.


Furthermore, individuals who have underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can be more prone to developing TMD-related symptoms due to chronic inflammation and chronic pain associated with these conditions.


(22/63) Overall it can be difficult to diagnose TMD as many people experience similar symptoms for different reasons depending on their circumstances.


However, it is essential that both physical health, as well as psychological components, are addressed when seeking relief from TMD-related issues for best results!


(23/63) Additionally engaging in lifestyle changes like relaxation techniques alongside self-care practices such as moist heat packs may help reduce this muscle tension around your jaws offering relief from TMD-related symptoms and allowing you to regain quality of life once again!


The effect of Stress and Anxiety on TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)


(24/63) Stress and anxiety experience can have a devastating impact on the temporomandibular joint and can lead to chronic pain. When individuals are under chronic stress, their bodies can go into fight or flight mode, releasing cortisol, the stress hormone.


This can cause muscles in the head and neck to tense up which can subsequently create a vicious cycle of stress and muscle tension leading to more jaw pain and discomfort.

As a result of TMJ your anxiety develops and in the effect of TMJ as a physical disorder, TMJ anxiety attacks are not rear to happen.


(25/63) Additionally, research has found links between anxiety disorders and an increased risk of developing TMD-related symptoms such as jaw pain.


For example, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan observed that out of 848 participants with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), more than 47% had moderate to severe levels of Anxiety disorders compared to only 25-30% in people without TMD (Kutay et al., 2012).


(26/63) Furthermore, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – commonly used for the management of anxiety can sometimes be associated with worsening TMD symptoms due to their effects on the muscles in the face or stiffness around the TMJ leading to further discomfort.


(27/63) Both physical health, as well as psychological components, must be addressed when seeking relief from TMD-related issues for best results!


Psychological therapy may help reduce any existing stress or anxiety that can lead to TMD symptoms through relaxation breathing exercises, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based therapies, or other forms of psychotherapy.


Additionally engaging in lifestyle changes like yoga alongside self-care practices such as moist heat.

(28/63) The effects of stress and anxiety experience can be far-reaching, and can have a significant effect on the health of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ)as well as temporomandibular earache ache.


(29/63) It is important to note that while stress can worsen existing TMD-related symptoms, it can also cause them in individuals who do not experience any other physical problems affecting their TMJ.


Anxiety has been identified as one of the most common causes of TMD alongside misalignment or trauma to the joint itself.


(30/63) Additionally, people who are suffering from chronic stress or are experiencing high levels of emotional distress may be more prone to developing symptoms associated with TMD due to its physiological effects on their bodies. Studies have shown that individuals exposed to stressful situations for extended periods can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Can Anxiety Cause TMJ?


(31/63) Yes, unfortunately, anxiety affect TMJ.


Anxiety can indeed cause symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder.

Evidence suggests that stress can cause physical changes in the body, such as increased muscle tension, increased heart rate, and elevated levels of hormones that can lead to pain in the temporomandibular joint.


(32/63) Additionally, individuals who are prone to higher levels of emotional distress and anxiety can be more likely to experience symptoms related to TMD.


A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found a strong correlation between anxiety disorders, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and TMD.


(33/63) Studies have identified several psychological trigger factors that can contribute to TMD such as chronic stress, depression, fear, anger, and suppressed emotions.


Anxiety can also cause bruxism or teeth grinding which can lead to a further imbalance within the TMJ and trigger additional pain or discomfort.


Individuals with underlying emotional issues can be more predisposed to increased levels of chronic stress or high levels of emotional distress which can exacerbate existing TMJ symptoms making them harder to manage.


(34/63) Fortunately, there are many treatments available for TMD which include lifestyle modifications such as relaxation exercises like yoga or meditation alongside psychotherapy methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based therapies, or other forms of psychotherapy.


(35/63) Additionally, engaging in self-care practices such as moist heat therapy can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation associated with TMJ disorder as well as overall stress reduction activities like exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can help lessen the effects of anxiety on this condition, dental treatments or even craniosacral therapy TMJ anxiety Groton wellness which was proven to work on a control group of people.


https://www.grotonwellness.com/practices/medical/craniosacral-therapy/


(36/63) In conclusion, while more research is needed to fully understand the effects of anxiety and stress on TMJ disorder, there can be no doubt that it can indeed cause symptoms of TMD as well as increase existing pain and discomfort.


Therefore, individuals suffering from this condition may need to take steps to reduce their stress levels to better manage their symptoms.


Engaging as part of your treatment such practices as psychotherapy or lifestyle modifications can help alleviate existing symptoms and can also improve emotional well-being which can further reduce the risk of developing TMJ disorder.


(Reference - recent study: Lipton JA (2005). “The temporomandibular joint: Etiology and treatment of internal derangements")


How can Anxiety cause TMJ disorder?


(37/63) Anxiety can cause TMJ disorder in several ways.


Firstly, as mentioned above, high levels of stress can be correlated with increased muscle tension and can lead to a physical imbalance within the temporomandibular joint, resulting in increased pain and discomfort.

(38/63) Additionally, those suffering from anxiety can become more prone to excessive teeth grinding or bruxism which can further worsen existing TMJ symptoms.


Furthermore, underlying emotional issues can exacerbate existing TMJ symptoms due to higher levels of chronic stress or heightened emotional distress.


Finally, psychological triggers such as depression, fear and anger can also contribute to TMD by setting off a chain reaction of events leading to increased muscle tension and an inability to properly relax the jaw area.


(39/63) To reduce the effects of anxiety on TMJ disorder individuals need to take steps to reduce their stress levels for them to better manage their symptoms.


This can be achieved through treatment methods such as relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation alongside psychotherapy methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or mindfulness-based therapies.


(40/63) Engaging in self-care practices can also help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation associated with TMJ disorder while incorporating overall stress reduction activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can help lessen the effects of anxiety on this condition.


(41/63) Ultimately, by addressing the underlying cause of anxiety within an individual’s life they can alleviate existing TMD mental symptoms as well improve their overall mental health.


TMJ Anxiety Vertigo.


(42/63) TMJ can also hurt the balance and equilibrium of a person, leading to vertigo or dizziness.

Vertigo can be a symptom of TMJ disorder, as can headaches, jaw pain, and neck stiffness.


Vertigo can be caused by the presence of inflammation in the inner ear due to the misalignment of the temporomandibular joint which can cause nerve compression and lead to an imbalance in signals sent to the brain from the organs responsible for hearing, balance and movement.


(43/63) Additionally, increased levels of stress can further exacerbate vertigo symptoms or can bring about the new onset of this condition due to heightened muscle tension in the jaw area.


(44/63) Fortunately, there are treatments available for individuals suffering from TMJ-related vertigo.


Relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation can help reduce tension in the jaw area and alleviate symptoms associated with vertigo.


Physiotherapy can also be a helpful tool in addressing TMD-related issues such as muscle spasms which can contribute to vertigo symptoms by disrupting balance signals sent to the brain.


(45/63) Additionally, engaging in lifestyle modifications such as avoiding foods that increase inflammation can help reduce symptoms associated with this condition.

(46/63) In addition, psychotherapy methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be beneficial for those suffering from both anxiety and TMJ-related vertigo because it can allow them to better manage their stress levels and emotional well-being which can help alleviate existing symptoms while reducing their risk of developing chronic pain conditions like TMD.


How to treat TMJ disorder?


(47/63) For any TMD patient, it is important to note that the treatment of TMJ disorder can vary depending on the severity and complexity of the condition.


It should start from a physical exam to a clinical examination. So you have to visit a doctor straight away when you have the first symptoms of TMJ.


(48/63) For mild cases of TMD, lifestyle modifications can be used in combination with relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can help reduce muscle tension, lessen pain and improve overall function.


(49/63) Additionally, moist heat therapy can be beneficial in reducing inflammation associated with TMJ disorder and can also aid in relaxing muscles around the temporomandibular joint.


(50/63) Moreover, engaging in self-care practices such as stress reduction activities like exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can also help lessen the effects of anxiety on this condition.

(51/63) For more severe cases of TMJ disorder, it is recommended that individuals visit their dentist to receive a thorough evaluation and diagnosis to determine the best course of care.

This can include physical therapy or rehabilitative exercises which can help improve jaw movement by increasing strength and flexibility as well as decreasing muscle tension within the area.


(52/63) In addition, splints and mouth guards may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms associated with bruxism. Lastly, more complex cases may require further interventions such as dental work or even surgery for optimal results.


(53/63) It is important to remember that seeking out professional advice regarding TMJ disorder can be extremely beneficial in providing relief from pain and discomfort associated with this condition.

Therefore it is essential for individuals suffering from TMD to contact their dentist immediately so they can receive an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan suitable for their individual needs.


(54/63) The best method is a combination of physical treatment by a physical therapist of muscle disorders in temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and psychological treatment focused on dealing with the root cause of your stress which has a direct impact on your TMJ and home care.


(55/63) For those who have trouble with teeth grinding a TMJ night guard can come in handy.


It is a silicon or plastic mouthpiece that is placed over the teeth.

It protects your teeth from the effects of grinding but also aligns your jaw.


In turn, as a result of the correct arrangement of the jaw bones, the facial muscles relax and the pain decreases.


How can people manage their stress and anxiety to prevent exacerbating their TMJ symptoms


(56/63) The best way to manage stress and anxiety that can exacerbate TMJ symptoms is to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, stretching, and progressive muscle relaxation.


Engaging in activities like yoga or mindfulness can also help reduce tension in the jaw area.


(57/63) Additionally, engaging in regular exercise can help release endorphins which can have a calming effect on the body and can help alleviate symptoms associated with TMJ disorder.


It is also important to develop healthy coping strategies for dealing with daily stressors, such as writing down thoughts or having conversations about feelings and experiences with friends or family members.


(58/63) Lastly, seeking medical attention from a specialist when needed can be beneficial for those suffering from severe cases of TMD as they may require professional TMD treatment plans or therapies tailored to their individual needs.

(59/63) Ultimately, it is important to focus on managing anxiety levels by incorporating self-care practices into one’s daily routine so that TMD does not become worsened due to stress or emotional disturbances.


This can ultimately lead to improved quality of life for those suffering from this condition.


How can you manage your anxiety and improve your quality of life ?


(60/63) Anxiety can be managed and one's quality of life can be improved by engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or yoga.


(61/63) Additionally, it can help to practice mindfulness which can help reduce the physical symptoms associated with anxiety.

Regular exercise can also help release endorphins which can have a calming effect on the body and can help alleviate symptoms associated with TMJ disorder.


(62/63) It is important to seek out professional advice if needed, as a dental specialist can provide an appropriate diagnosis and create a tailored treatment plan specific to individual needs that may include physical therapy or rehabilitative exercises which can help improve jaw movement by increasing strength and flexibility as well as decrease muscle tension within the area.

(63/63) Furthermore, moist heat therapy can be beneficial in reducing inflammation associated with TMJ disorder and can also aid in relaxing muscles around the temporomandibular joint.


Lastly, developing healthy coping strategies for dealing with daily stressors is essential for managing anxiety levels so that TMD does not become worsened due to stress or emotional disturbances.


This can ultimately lead to improved quality of life for those suffering from this condition.


VA will pay for dental TMJ anxiety disability - please read here: https://www.hillandponton.com/va-rating-tmj/


Prologue... struck with a bludgeon


From being an employee of the year to suddenly getting fired, this sudden change in circumstance brought a whole bunch more than stress - jaw pain and eventually TMJ disorder.


Stress was on another level as it turns out that physical ailments can arise from emotional turmoil!


One thing's for sure though: despite going through so much anguish, I stayed strong by knowing what causes such illnesses as inflammation of the jaw joint.


Table of Contents
  1. Struck with a club!
  2. What is TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) and how does it work?
  3. What is TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder or Temporomandibular Disorders)
  4. What are the symptoms of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)?
  5. What is the mechanism of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder)
  6. The effect of Stress and Anxiety on TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)
  7. Can Anxiety Cause TMJ?
  8. How can Anxiety cause TMJ disorder?
  9. TMJ Anxiety Vertigo.
  10. How to treat TMJ disorder?
  11. How can people manage their stress and anxiety to prevent exacerbating their TMJ symptoms
  12. How can you manage your anxiety and improve your quality of life ?
  13. Prologue... struck with a bludgeon

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.