Unfortunately, as we learn more, we find a growing connection between depression and anxiety symptoms and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD) pain. In fact, depression and anxiety only worsen jaw pain experienced with TMD, according to a new study. 

What is the connection?

We know that TMD affects the muscles and joints that connect your lower jaw to the skull. But to make matters worse, anxiety and depression can add to that pain. A study by German researchers looked at more than 4,000 patients who underwent medical and oral health examinations and TMJ pain assessments. On top of that, these patients completed a psychiatric risk factor questionnaire. 

What the researchers found was that symptoms of depression were more strongly related to TMJ pain than to muscle pain. On top of that, anxiety symptoms were also linked to muscle pain. 

Pay attention to your mental health

When you experience TMJ pain, it may be a physical symptom of depression or anxiety. In fact, these mental health conditions could lead to increased activity in the jaw muscles that can cause inflammation, as well as pain. 

There is also a possibility that chemical imbalances in the brains of people with depression and anxiety could lead to abnormal processing of pain sensation. But, it is important to keep in mind that more research is needed to confirm a cause-and-effect relationship between TMD, anxiety and depression. 

If you suffer from jaw pain, depression or anxiety, contact us today to learn more about proper treatment for TMD.