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How TMJ Can Lead to Throat Problems and GERD: Expert Advice

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as ear pain, headaches, neck pain, facial pain, toothache, and more. But what many patients don’t know is that TMJ can also lead to throat problems and GERD – and even more seriously, it may also contribute to the development of certain life-threatening conditions. Here, an expert in TMJ treatments will discuss what TMJ is, how it is linked to throat problems and GERD, and what can be done to manage TMJ symptoms and avoid the development of other conditions.

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It allows your jaw to move up and down and side to side, which is crucial for speaking, eating, and for other activities. When this joint becomes inflamed or injured, it can cause pain and discomfort in the surrounding areas.

The Link Between TMJ and Throat Problems

Several studies have shown that individuals with TMJ are at an increased risk of suffering from throat problems such as dysphagia, hoarseness, and globus sensation. Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing, while hoarseness is defined as a change in the voice. Globus sensation is the feeling of a lump in the throat. These symptoms are often the result of muscle spasms in the throat and neck area that can occur in TMJ patients due to an imbalance in the musculature of the area.

The Link Between TMJ and GERD

Another less known connection between TMJ and throat problems is that TMJ can also contribute to the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is caused by a malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which allows stomach acid to rise up the esophagus and cause symptoms such as heartburn and acid regurgitation.

Some studies have suggested that TMJ patients are more likely to have a weak or dysfunctional LES, which may explain the high prevalence of GERD in this population. Some experts believe that muscle tension in the neck can contribute to this, as the muscles in the neck can become overly tense in TMJ patients.

Other Serious Problems Linked to TMJ

Aside from throat problems and GERD, research has also shown that TMJ is associated with an increased risk of other serious conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and depression. Furthermore, individuals with TMJ are also at an increased risk of certain life-threatening problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea and stroke, due to the increased tension in the neck and throat area.

Expert Tips for Managing TMJ and Avoiding Related Problems

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to seek help from an expert in TMJ disorders. Here are some tips to help you manage your symptoms and avoid related problems:

• Practice Good Oral Hygiene:

Brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent toothaches and TMJ symptoms.

• Stay Hydrated:

Drink plenty of water to keep your muscles well-hydrated, which can help relieve muscle tension in your neck.

• Maintain Proper Posture:

Be conscious of your posture and make sure your head and neck are in the proper alignment to prevent muscle tension.

• Manage Stress:

Stress can exacerbate TMJ symptoms, so it’s important to practice stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.

• Follow a Healthy Diet:

Avoid foods and drinks that can trigger acid reflux, such as spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine, and follow a healthy diet filled with nutrient-dense foods.

• Consider TMJ Treatment:

If your symptoms are severe and are preventing you from living a normal life, seek treatment from a qualified TMJ specialist. TMJ treatment options are varied and can range from physical therapy to surgical intervention, depending on the severity of your condition.


TMJ is a condition that can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Many people are unaware that it can also lead to throat problems, GERD, and even more serious conditions like obstructive sleep apnea and stroke. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of TMJ, it’s important to seek help from an expert in TMJ treatments. With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, these symptoms and related conditions can potentially be managed and even prevented.