Tips for Traveling with TMJ Los Angeles

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Getting out to see the world sounds like a lot of fun. But, for those who have been diagnosed with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, traveling can have a whole new layer of complexity added to it. Not only do you have to ensure your travel plans are up-to-date, but you also have to make sure your TMJ pain doesn’t keep you on the sidelines for most of your trip.

If you’re planning a trip in the near future, have no fear—you can travel without aggravating your TMJ pain. Take a look at these tips for a successful travel experience, whether you’re traveling by car, airplane or any other mode of transportation.

Tips for traveling with TMJ

Traveling by Car:
Make regular stops.
Sitting in the car for long periods of time can be difficult on your body. By making regular stops, you can ensure that your muscles don’t start to get tense and your joints don’t get stiff. Getting out of the car allows you to stretch your legs and stand, helping to make the small space in the car more tolerable.

•  Bring a pillow.
Pillows are great for long road trips. Not only do they offer your head and neck support while taking a nap in the car, but they can also help to reduce back pain. If you’re starting to notice any back or neck pain during the drive, use the pillow to support the irritated area before it leads to unnecessary TMJ pain.

•  Have your medication ready.
If the trip proves to be more uncomfortable than expected, it would be in your best interest to make sure your medication is readily available. This is more of a precaution than anything else, but being prepared is never a bad thing!

Traveling by Airplane:
Consider purchasing earplugs.
There are some earplugs on the market that help to stabilized air pressure, cutting down on ear pain and TMJ pain while at high altitudes. If ear pain often aggravates your TMJ pain, it could be a good idea to invest in the appropriate earplugs for the trip.

•  Move around as the cabin.
More often than not, airplane seats are small and uncomfortable. If you find that your compact seat isn’t providing you the comfort and support you need, get up and move around the cabin as you can. It’s a great way to keep your muscles from tensing and your TMJ pain from flaring up.

•  Don’t forget your pillow.
Much like in the car, pillows for airplane travel can help to relieve your TMJ pain or combat it before it even starts. Neck pillows are great for planes because they can make an uncomfortable seat a little more comfortable for sleeping and relaxing while in the air and can also be used to support your back if necessary.

General Travel Tips:
Try not to stress.
Stress, anxiety and TMJ are all linked. Plan your trip in advance if at all possible and try to keep the stress of travel to a minimum. Relax and enjoy your adventure.

•  Don’t plan too much.
You know your body the best. If you feel that traveling or activities once you’re at your destination are too much, don’t feel like taking a nap is a bad thing. Sometimes a little rest is all you need to get back into the swing of things.

Before you travel, it’s important that you consult your medical professional about their suggestions for helping you travel and manage your TMJ pain and symptoms while away from home.

TMJ Specialist Los Angeles

Dr. Jacob Elisha has over 30 years of experience in the field of dentistry, periodontics, and cutting-edge restorative techniques in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Jacob Elisha is an authority in on TMJ Disorders. He has successfully treated patients with TMJ disorders in Los Angeles in the past and looks forward to the future.

TMJ Disorders. An award-winning oral maxillofacial surgeon and Los Angeles TMJ specialist, Dr. Jacob Elisha is known for providing among the most effective TMJ treatment Beverly Hills has to offer—improving jaw function and delivering permanent relief from chronic pain.

TMJ disorders affect your temporomandibular joint, which allows your mouth to open and move smoothly. We offer specialized treatment in Los Angeles, CA . The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders. In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments. TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder. Seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely. Your doctor, your dentist or a TMJ specialist can discuss possible causes and treatments for your problem.

What are the risk factors for TMJ syndrome? There are several risk factors for TMD: Poor posture in the neck and upper back muscles may lead to neck strain and abnormalities of jaw muscle function. Stress may increase muscle tension and jaw clenching. Women 18-44 years of age have increased risk. Patients with other chronic inflammatory arthritis have increased risk. People with jaw trauma or poorly positioned teeth have increased risk. People who have a genetic predisposition to pain sensitivity and increased stress responses may be more susceptible.

The temporomandibular joint is more commonly referred to as the TMJ joint, but what is TMJ? This joint is actually located at the base of the skull in front of the ear structure and connects the lower jaw (mandible) with the upper jaw (maxilla). Unlike most joints located in the body, the TMJ is unique in its structure, composed of a rounded protrusion of the mandible that sits against an indentation in the skull, and a disc-like structure made of a soft bone called cartilage found in between the two bones (articular disc). These three parts of the TMJ are held together by ligaments originating from different parts of the head and neck to support the jaw and guide its movements. Several muscles are connected to those ligaments, and many aid in the motion of the lower jaw. How Does it Work? The TMJ works in two ways to open your mouth: The first way is like a hinge to simply open and close the mouth, just like a hinge on a door. The second way is a sliding motion called translation, wherein your lower jaw moves down and forward. This motion helps the TMJ to move backward and forward and from side to side for actions such as eating, yawning and singing – some of the most common. What Can Happen to the TMJ? Like any other joint in the body, the TMJ can be fractured, swell and become sore, causing limited movement of the lower jaw and pain radiating to the head and neck area. A fracture to the actual articular disc is rare, but it can be displaced, causing severe pain and swelling. Unlike other joints such as knees and hips, arthritis of the TMJ is very rare, and hard to treat with anti-inflammatory drugs alone. Nonetheless, pain in the TMJ is often temporary, and can be treated with a combination of ice then heat to relieve the sore ligaments and muscles surrounding the joint. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, known more commonly as TMD, occurs when there are problems with the muscles and jaws in the face. There are many signs and symptoms of TMD. It’s often hard to know for sure if you have TMD, because one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Your dentist can help make a proper diagnosis. What About Grinding and Clenching? Sometimes, pain in the TMJ can come from the teeth themselves, as opposed to the TMJ and surrounding ligaments.

As a TMJ doctor, Dr. Jacob Elisha delivers a TMJ treatment in Los Angeles for patients who are suffering from extreme pain to help resolve the condition. Because TMJ disorders can be extremely painful, Dr. Jacob Elisha’s first priority is symptom relief. Although these measures won’t permanently cure TMJ, they will alleviate much of the chronic pain associated with the condition. This variety makes diagnosis and treatment challenging. An accurate diagnosis is critical for successful treatment. For instance, patients with a muscle problem that is causing pain will most likely not benefit from surgery on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Ask about your doctor’s experience in diagnosing and treating TMJ and facial pain. Most problems, whether muscular or within the joint, get better over time. For this reason, most experts agree that it’s best to use conservative treatment at first. But in some instances, surgery or other procedures, such as injections, may be recommended as a first treatment. Most people with TMD have temporary symptoms that are not serious and do not get worse. They usually can get better with simple treatments done at home. Sometimes symptoms go away without any treatment at all. They also can come back without warning. If you have TMD, your dentist may suggest the treatments listed below. Most dentists agree that these treatments work best in combination. You may not get relief using only one. To begin, Dr. Jacob Elisha will prescribe a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant to relieve muscle spasms and joint pain. In some cases, he may also inject a specialized steroid directly into the joints to dramatically reduce pain and inflammation. From there, Dr. Jacob Elisha will prescribe self-care treatments—advising the patient to rest the jaw, eat soft foods, apply ice to the affected area and practice proper posture. Depending on the specifics of your TMJ disorder, he may also recommend physical therapy to improve jaw function.

(310) 231-5100
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