Lately, I have had this numbing, tingling feeling in my fingers and I was wondering if it could be related to my TMJ disorder? I am very familiar with all the other symptoms of bruxism and grinding and how they affect my TMJ, like pain in my jaw and face, ringing in my ears, and stiffness in the jaw joint. But this numbing pins and needles feeling is new. It only happens with my left hand and I was wondering if there is a correlation here?
– Loretta in Missouri
TMJ symptoms are wide-ranging and TMJ disorder manifests differently for everyone. But to answer your question, yes, the numb feeling you have described can be connected with TMJ disorder. Typically it is not as common of a TMJ symptom, having been reported in about 50 percent of TMJ patients.
Here is what is happening in regard to the numbness. When your bite is misaligned, muscle spasms may occur. And since all of your muscles are inter-connected, when your jaw is misaligned it is quite possible to see problems down in your extremities. This is because the muscle spasms that you experience causing the tightness in your jaw, face, and neck area can influence the connecting nerves that travel into your arms. When these nerves are bothered, periodic numbness or tingling can be a result. That said, the numbness may not always occur as a result of TMJ pain. It can happen spontaneously.
It is important that you report any new or different TMJ problems to your TMJ specialist or the dentist that is treating you. Open communication will enable the best TMJ treatment to meet your specific needs.
Thank you for your question!