A tingling or numb sensation in the face, neck, jaw or upper extremities can be very concerning. Depending on the area affected, the tingling or numbness may interfere with your activities of daily living, such as brushing your teeth, opening a bottle or using a computer.
If you experience persistent tingling or numbness around your face, neck, jaw, arms or fingers, there are several plausible explanations. And though it may seem perplexing, according to Drs. Ivan & Allan Stein and the team at Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey, a malfunctioning jaw joint may be to blame.
Tingling, Numbness and Your TMJ
Tingling or numbness are the result of a pinched nerve or pressure on a nerve. If the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinged joint that controls your ability to open and close your mouth, falls out of proper alignment, it can put pressure on the nearby trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve has three branches, each of which carry signals from different areas of the face. One or all of these branches may be affected by a malfunctioning TMJ. If this happens, sensory input to these areas is compromised and a loss of feeling can occur.
Though less common, tingling or numbness in the arms and fingers can happen in cases of TMJ disorder (TMD). The muscles of the jaw play a part in holding the neck upright, and if those muscles are strained from TMD, the nearby neck muscles can pick up the slack and the neck can start to tilt. Unfortunately, when the neck tilts, it may put pressure on the nerves that bring sensation from the arms, hands or fingers, resulting in tingling or a loss of sensation.
Track Down the Source of the Tingling and Numbness
Have you and your doctor ruled out other causes of your tingling or numbness — such as carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes and tumors? Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey may have the answer and the solution. When consulting with the doctors about the possibility of TMD, they will take your complete medical history and ask you about any other symptoms you may be experiencing, such as jaw soreness or pain or a clicking or popping noise when opening your mouth. They will also perform a complete examination of your jaw and jaw joint, taking X-rays to get a better look at the structures that make up the joint.
With the information Drs. Stein gather from your consultation, they can confirm or rule out TMJ disorder as the cause of your symptoms. TMD has many causes, and they will work to determine the contributing factors in your case.
Once Drs. Stein have a definitive TMJ diagnosis, you can immediately start treatment to address the root cause of your problems. Often our team starts with at-home remedies before progressing to other treatments. If therapies such as jaw stretches, relaxation techniques and applying ice packs or moist heat to the jaw do not help, we can move on to options such as physical therapy which would include ultrasound therapy, electrostimulation, microcurrent therapy, and Manuel therapy. Botox can be used as well as steroid injections directly to the affected joint. You should experience a swift improvement in your symptoms once Drs. Stein have identified and addressed the root cause of the problem.
Relief Is Only a Phone Call Away
Take the first step toward relief from the tingling and numbness you experience. Contact Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey today and request an informational consultation.