WHAT IS TMJ?
Temporomandibular Joint and muscle disorders are generally referred to as TMJ, TMD, or TMJD. They tend to cause pain in the joint as well as in the muscles surrounding the jaw, neck, upper back, and down as far as the hips.
I know how challenging it can be to find foods to eat that won’t exasperate the pain and inflammation. I see so many people reaching for soft processed or sugary foods which can further deplete the body of critical nutrients and can perpetuate symptoms.
MY TMJ JOURNEY…….
I was diagnosed with severe TMJ at the age of 12. I spent decades jumping from one specialist to another. I tried taking pain medications and muscle relaxers, but they either had horrible side effects or flat out didn’t work. Along the way, I encountered many medical doctors who didn’t seem to understand just how much pain I was in. It felt as though I was destined for a life of pain and misery. There were times when I just wanted to give up. Can you relate?
THE NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM TMJ PAIN
What breaks my heart the most is the staggering number of TMJ sufferers who struggle with chronic pain and inflammation every day of their lives, and don’t know where to turn for help. If you are like me, you’ve probably seen countless medical providers willing to try just about anything to lessen the pain.
TMJD is a structural problem that does require a dentist who specializes in the disorder to correct the bite and position of the jaw. What most people don’t think of is that in addition to specialized care, there are many more things that can impact the level of pain and inflammation you suffer from – nutrition and lifestyle habits.
After struggling for decades I began to make connections between my symptoms and certain foods that I was eating as well as my stress levels. For example, I LOVE tomatoes and I do eat them, but I know that if I eat them multiple days in a row my symptoms of pain and inflammation go through the roof. I’ve learned that I can eat them, but I must eat them in moderation and certainly not consecutively. We are all different and therefore require a unique approach when working to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with TMJ/TMD.
I get it! I’ve been there! I want you to know that you can get your life back. I’ve done it. Let me show you how.
My passion is in helping others like me to make those connections so that you can live the life that you deserve.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR REDUCING TMJ PAIN AND INFLAMMATION:
In conjunction with TMJ treatment here are the foods that you should consume regularly:
- Anti-inflammatory foods such as fish and dark leafy greens
- Foods that help with joint health – vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium
Foods to Avoid:
Hard foods that make your jaw work harder such as nuts, candy, or hard bread. Chewy foods like steak and bagels.
These inflammatory foods can increase joint pain:
- Processed foods (think pre-packaged) they’re loaded with preservatives and chemicals which can cause an immune response creating inflammation and pain.
- Sugar (acts like acid in the joints)
- Refined carbohydrates (convert to sugar)
- Alcohol (converts to sugar)
DID YOU KNOW THAT FOOD SENSITIVITIES AND/OR FOOD ALLERGIES CAN CAUSE INFLAMMATION AND PAIN IN THE JAW JOINT?
Some of the most common food sensitivity or allergenic foods that can increase TMJ/TMD pain include:
- Wheat and Gluten
- Nightshades (for some people)
DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms of food intolerance, sensitivity, or allergy can include:
- Gas and bloating
- Abdominal distention
- Congestion and sinus problems
- Lack of focus
- Low energy
- Mood swings
- Joint pain
- Weight loss resistance
- Skin problems such as eczema or Rosacea
- Autoimmune diseases
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE YOUR PAIN?
Try incorporating these Anti-inflammatory rich foods several times per week:
Vitamin A – Steamed kale, cooked carrots, cooked sweet potatoes, steamed dark leafy greens, squash, and wild-caught whitefish
Vitamin D – Sunshine! Cod liver oil, wild-caught fish, and eggs
Vitamin C – Papaya, cooked broccoli, oranges, strawberries, melon, and pineapple. Pineapple also contains bromelain which has great anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin E – Spinach, pumpkin, red bell pepper, asparagus, mango, avocado
Quercetin – grapes, raspberries, nectarines, broccoli, red onion, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green and yellow bell peppers, asparagus
Selenium – brazil nuts are the richest source and can be put into a smoothie. 4 brazil nuts per day will provide you with a beneficial amount of this vital nutrient
Magnesium – Almonds and cashews are rich sources of this crucial mineral. Consider adding them to a smoothie to eliminate the need to chew them so that you can bring this crucially needed nutrient into your body.
I’ve had to learn how to pack as much nutrition as possible into my smoothies due to my TMJD, and the inability to chew food thoroughly. I eat real food too, but I love my smoothies!
My favorite smoothie recipe!
4 Brazil nuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, almonds, or sunflower seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
Grind the ingredients above in your blender or food processor
2 cups of kale, spinach, or power greens
1 large cucumber peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 can full-fat coconut milk
1 scoop of protein powder (I use Growing Naturals Organic Rice
Protein Vanilla, but you can use your favorite one)
1 cup organic frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
If you or someone you know struggles with TMJ/TMD reach out to schedule a Free 30-minute Discovery Call today.
Looking for delicious simple anti-inflammatory recipes? Click this link to try my anti-inflammtory meal plan out for FREE!
Heidi Price is a Certified Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner who has suffered from TMJ for over thirty years. She teaches people who suffer from TMJ, crooked teeth, and/or missing teeth how these conditions affect the whole body, and helps them to reclaim their lives.
After many years of searching for the missing puzzle piece in her healing journey, she experienced tremendous relief from the pain and inflammation associated with TMJ through nutrition and lifestyle modifications in conjunction with neuromuscular dentistry. She quit her job and went back to school to earn her certification to create a life full of health, passion, and purpose to be able to help others like her to reduce or eliminate the downstream effects on their body as a result of TMJ, cooked teeth, and/or missing teeth.
She is the founder of Balanced Health Through Nutrition LLC and is dedicated to educating her clients and working with them to create a customized nutrition and lifestyle design with the utmost empathy and compassion for their unique challenges.