TMJ Symptoms May Not Appear Immediately
The JADA study noted that TMJ symptoms were often delayed. People did not report these immediately when treated at the hospital, but within a year after treatment.
While symptoms may not appear immediately, they often occur within a month of the accident, according to more recent research.
TMJ Symptoms to Watch for
With symptoms appearing between a month and a year after your accident, it’s important to be vigilant for symptoms that could indicate TMJ. Some of the common TMJ symptoms to watch for include:
- Locked jaw or limited jaw mobility
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing mouth
- Pain in the jaw, neck, or face
- Migraines and other headaches
- Difficulty chewing
- Ringing in the ears
People who develop TMJ after an accident most likely develop pain in the trigeminal region of the face (everything below the nose, but up to the temples on the side of the head). People with TMJ related to whiplash report more symptoms than other TMJ patients, and are more likely to have symptoms like limited jaw opening, headaches, and stress.
TMJ Symptoms Won’t Just Go Away
Most common cases of TMJ are temporary and will resolve on their own with a small amount of home care. However, this is not the case for TMJ related to car accidents. One study with 15-year follow-up showed that those who experienced whiplash trauma continued to have elevated TMJ symptoms throughout the entire period.
If you develop TMJ symptoms after a car accident, you can’t count on them to resolve on their own or under home care. It’s important to seek professional treatment.