When you get numb or tingling fingers, you might assume you cut off circulation by lying on your arm. When your fingers tingle, you might think of all the work you did in the garden or around the house. When you have shock-like pains in your hand, you might blame all that typing on the keyboard. Chances are, you don’t blame your jaw, but that might be exactly where the problem is.
As unusual as it sounds, TMJ can lead to numbness, shock-like pains, or tingling fingers and hands. If you’ve been trying to get relief for these sensations, but haven’t had luck, we might be able to help. Please call (303) 691-0267 or email the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver for a consultation.
How TMJ Causes Nerve Problems
When your jaw is out of balance, your jaw muscles pull one way or another, twisting the jaw at an angle. This pull is felt by neck muscles that work together with your jaw muscles when chewing, swallowing, or just maintaining balance. This doesn’t just transfer tension—which can result in neck, shoulder, or back pain—it can pull the neck vertebrae out of place.
The human body is built like a tower of bricks. In order to maintain balance, when bricks pull off one way, other bricks pull off the other way. This can cause your vertebrae to twist to one side or the other. When they do this, they can put excess pressure on the nerves that emerge from the spine to carry signals to and from the hands. The result is the numbness, tingling, and electric shocks you feel.
As we noted, this is not the most common symptom of TMJ, but people with TMJ may be nearly four times as likely as others to report pain and other symptoms in the hands, shoulders, and other joints.
Why Doctors and Chiropractors May Not Help (Much)
When you report tingling fingers or numbness in your hands, your doctor may look for local causes. Not finding local nerve problems, they may tell you that there’s no problem. They may notice the spine problem and recommend physical therapy (PT) or a chiropractor.
PT or a chiropractor can help with some of the local causes of numbness. PT can help relieve muscle tension, while a chiropractor can help align your vertebrae. In either case, unless the root cause—your jaw misalignment—is fixed, the symptoms may be gone for a while, but they will return.
Is TMJ Your Problem?
The only way to know for sure whether TMJ is to blame for symptoms of tingling fingers or numbness is to be evaluated by a TMJ dentist. For evaluation of your TMJ in Denver, please contact the TMJ Therapy & Treatment Center of Colorado.