23 Nov Here’s Why TMJ Can Worsen During Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, there is already enough to worry about without adding TMJ pain to the list. Unfortunately, a side effect of pregnancy for some women is TMJ, the jaw joint disorder that affects the temporomandibular joint. This joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to the skull’s temporal bones.
Swelling During Pregnancy
For most women, edema, which is the medial term for the swelling of the body, happens during pregnancy and can be a source of discomfort. Typically, the swelling is limited to the hands, feet, and ankles.
Swelling during pregnancy is due to the extra fluid and blood produced by the body. Fluid levels can double, which is the body’s way to soften the skin so that it can expand as the baby develops. Swelling typically begins after week 20 and can escalate through the coming weeks until the birth.
How Does Pregnancy Trigger TMJ?
If edema occurs on the neck and face, which happens to some but not all women, the amount of pressure on the jaw and around the temporomandibular joint may increase. The result can be TMJ pain.
Possible symptoms include a clicking jaw, locking jaw, and sleep disturbances due to the discomfort. Also, the uncomfortable jaw movement is not welcomed by women who experience nausea and vomiting while pregnant, for obvious reasons. The jaw pressure can also lead to headaches.
If the swelling comes on very suddenly while you are pregnant, no matter where it occurs, see your doctor right away as it could be a warning sign of a more serious condition, such as high blood pressure.
Controlling Swelling & Avoiding TMJ Soreness
For most women, edema is not a serious condition, although it is a cause of discomfort. If you want to take proactive measures to prevent TMJ pain from happening, here are a few strategies that our TMJ specialist recommends.
Firstly, stay active. If you have to sit, stretch your legs regularly and rotate your ankles. Otherwise, stay moving as much as you can as a way to keep circulation moving and prevent fluid from building up in tissue.
Be sure to hydrate properly too. While it may seem illogical to drink lots of water when your body is swollen, staying hydrated is vital to good health. Stay comfortable too by wearing loose clothing that won’t restrict or aggravate your skin.
Soaking in a cool tub can also be a way to reduce swelling. If the swelling is on the jaw, gently apply a cold compress to the area for a few minutes to help relieve the soreness. Continuing with the cold theme, stay in cool areas rather than being outside in the warm weather for a long time.
When to Visit a TMJ Specialist During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and suffering from TMJ pain in Houston, call us to book an appointment with our temporomandibular joint specialist who has several years of experience treating TMJ disorders. During the initial consultation, you can receive information about what is causing TMJ in your situation. From there, we can create a custom treatment plan to help ease your mind (and jaw) during pregnancy. We are only a phone call away.