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Why Do My Neck and Shoulders Always Hurt?

Why Do My Neck and Shoulders Always Hurt?


Chronic neck and shoulder pain may be a result of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.  The temporomadibular joint connects the lower jaw bone to the skull, to put it simply the TMJ is the jaw joint.  When the TMJ is enflamed it presses on the nerves and muscles around the jaw, affecting the entire body.


Potential Causes or Contributing Factors of TMJ Pain:

·        Various forms of arthritis

·        Injuries to the jaw area

·        Genetic predisposition

·        Dental procedures

·        Hormonal influence

·        Clenching or grinding of teeth

·        Low-level infections

·        Auto-immune diseases

·        Stretching of the jaw due to a surgical breathing tube


All of the causes of TMJ have yet to be discovered.  Since science has still been unable to fully prove that TMJ treatment is affective without causing harm, most insurance companies do not cover treatment of the jaw joint and muscle disorders.  As with any medical or dental procedure it is important to contact your insurance provider about coverage before any procedure. 


Since TMJ pain covers a broad spectrum of the health care field, patients experiencing TMJ pain may have difficulty getting a proper diagnosis.  Often pain and symptoms related to the TMJ are located away from the TMJ, making it more difficult to diagnose.  The treatments for TMJ are just as varying as the symptoms.  Obviously the simplest and most important TMJ treatment is resting the jaw.  However, as anyone knows, resting one of the most used, and multi-faceted joints in the human body is easier said than done. 

Possible Treatments For TMJ Pain:

  • Rest the jaw
  • Stretching, relaxing, and massaging the jaw muscle
  • Avoid yawning, singing, chewing, etc.
  • Cold or heat packs on the jaw
  • Exercise
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medication
  • Rarely a corticosteroid shot is used
  • A mouth guard like the Aqualizer can quickly help reduce chronic neck and shoulder pain associated with TMJ pain

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