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Fighting a Cold or Flu? Coughing Can Worsen TMJ Symptoms

New data from the CDC released last Friday estimates that so far this season, at least 6.4 million people have caught the flu, 55,000 people have been hospitalized and 2,900 people have died.

… and California is among the many states where the flu is reportedly widespread.

If you’ve gotten a cold or flu, you may have experienced a short, intense period of coughing, or a long, lingering cough. In either case, it’s not unusual for coughing to aggravate your temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD).

The Relationship Between Coughing and Your TMJ

We know that our jaw muscles aren’t really involved in the act of coughing. However, they do work with the muscles that are.

A cough puts a lot of demands on muscles that don’t normally do a lot of work. For example, muscles in your abdomen and in your larynx are being asked to repeatedly perform an act that is outside their normal parameters of action.

… And, then there’s the muscles in your neck, jaw, and head. They too are also being asked to respond to something that is very out of the ordinary. As a result, you can experience sore muscles that aren’t actually participating in your cough.

Common places where people report pain after a cough include the back of the head, the forehead, and the TMJ.

How to Tell if Your Cough is Causing Your Headaches

If the stress of coughing is triggering your headaches, then TMJ could be part of the cause.

If TMJ is part of the cause, it might mean more headaches for you in the future. Coughing is an extreme example of the normal forces your body experiences every day. You may now only experience your jaw pain and headaches after a coughing fit, but in the near future, it’s likely that just talking, eating, or opening your jaw may result in similar discomfort.

The good thing is, if that happens, you’ll recognize the pain for what it is, and know that your jaw is the underlying cause.

For a non-surgical treatment to relieve your jaw pain, please call (626) 773-8333 at Pasadena Pain Management to schedule an appointment.

About Pasadena Pain Management

Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.