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Are MVA Whiplash, Facial, Neck, and TMJ Pain caused by the TMJ ?

When someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) or motor pedestrian accident, they usually sustain whiplash injuries and have symptoms of headaches, neck pain, jaw (TMJ) pain, trouble opening their mouth, jaw joint noises (clicking), migraines, poor concentration, poor sleep, dizziness and/or vertigo. A person with TMJ Disorders can exhibit the same symptoms.
Are Concussion Symptoms from an MVA, Sports Injury, Fight Altercation, or Fall caused by the TMJ ?

A concussion can occur when there is trauma to the face and head that creates traumatic brain injury (TBI) when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, sports injury (ex. playing hockey, football, soccer, boxing, MMA, martial arts), a fight altercation or a bad fall.  A concussion can happen to children and adults.  A person with TMJ Disorders can exhibit the same symptoms.
Is the TMJ (Jaw Joint) involved or making symptoms worse for MVA Symptoms? Concussion Symptoms?  TBI?

The injury, trauma, or accident that caused the concussion, MVA TMJ whiplash, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) will either directly or indirectly injure the jaw joint (TMJ). 
Eye Pain - Eye Pressure - Blurry Vision - Light Sensitivity - Dry/Watery eyes

Forehead/Temple Headaches - "Tension" Headaches"Migraine" Headaches - Sinus Type HeadachesShooting Pain up back of head - Hair/ Scalp painful to touch

Jaw Pain - Jaw Joint Sounds - Clicking - PoppingGrating Sounds


Mouth Pain - Mouth Locks Open - Mouth Locks ShutJaw deviates on opening - Limited Mouth OpeningTrouble opening mouth


Ear pain / Pressure - Clogged / Itchy EarsRinging / Buzzing - Sound SensitivityDizzy Spells - Vertigo - Extra Wax Buildup


Teeth Pain - Teeth Sensitivity - Clenching / GrindingChipped Teeth - Teeth Fracturing

Throat Pain/Fullness - Swallowing DifficultiesVoice Irregularities or changesFrequent coughing /clearing of throatFeeling of foreign object in throat

Neck Pain - Stiff / Sore Muscles - Shoulder & Back AchesArm & Finger Numbness/Pain

Post-concussion, MVA TMJ whiplash, sports-related concussions, and traumatic brain injury symptoms all overlap Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder (TMD) symptoms

The overlap of these symptoms can lead to difficulty in diagnosing a TMJ Disorder problem that has been aggravated by the trauma or is it truly an MVA TMJ whiplash, concussion, or post-traumatic brain injury headache, resulting in a delay of diagnosis and treatment.


Concussion symptoms treatment Headaches  Neck pain  Jaw Pain & Facial Pain  Fatigue  Dizziness / Poor Balance Problems,  Poor Coordination  Unable to Walk  Nausea or Vomiting  Visual disturbances  Photophobia (light sensitivity)  Phonophobia (sound sensitivity)  Loss of consciousness  Decreased Playing Ability


Headaches - Neck pain - Jaw Pain & Facial Pain - Fatigue - Dizziness

Poor Balance Problems - Poor Coordination - Unable to Walk

Nausea or Vomiting - Visual disturbances - Photophobia (light sensitivity)

Phonophobia (sound sensitivity) - Loss of consciousness

Decreased Playing Ability

Concussion Symptoms Treatment Cognitive mental impairment ​Amnesia  Forgetfulness  Unable to focus or concentrate  Brain fog / Feeling in a Fog  Mental exhaustion  Slowed Reaction Times  Difficulty Concentrating  Difficulty Remembering  Confusion  Feeling dazed


Amnesia - Forgetfulness - Unable to focus or concentrate

Brain fog / Feeling in a Fog

Mental exhaustion - Slowed Reaction Times

Difficulty Concentrating - Difficulty Remembering - Confusion

Feeling dazed

Concussion Symptoms Behavioural Changes Treatment Irritability  Emotional lability Exagerrated mood swings  Sadness  Anxiety  Inappropriate Emotions


Irritability - Emotional lability Exagerrated mood swings - Sadness

Anxiety - Inappropriate Emotions

Concussion Symptoms Treatment Sleep Disturbances Drowsiness  Trouble falling asleep  Sleeping more than usual  Sleeping less than usual


Drowsiness - Trouble falling asleep - Sleeping more than usual

Sleeping less than usual

Is there Delayed Concussion Symptoms, Mild TBI Symptoms, and MVA TMJ Whiplash Symptoms? 

Post-concussion, MVA TMJ Whiplash and Traumatic Brain Injury symptoms can be delayed after the initial traumatic event and can show up days to a few months later. 
Concussion from Hockey, Concussion Treatment from Hockey, NHL player concussion treatment, OHL Concussion treatment, AHL concussion treatment,   TBI from Hockey, TBI Treatment from Hockey, NHL player TBI treatment, OHL TBI treatment, AHL TBI treatment,   Whiplash from Hockey, Whiplash Treatment from Hockey, NHL player Whiplash treatment, OHL Whiplash treatment, AHL Whiplash treatment,   Jaw pain from Hockey, Jaw pain Treatment from Hockey, NHL player Jaw pain treatment, OHL Jaw pain treatment, AHL Jaw pain treatment,   Headache from Hockey, Headache Treatment from Hockey, NHL player Headache treatment, OHL Headache treatment, AHL Headache treatment,   TMJ pain from Hockey, TMJ pain Treatment from Hockey, NHL player TMJ pain treatment, OHL TMJ pain treatment, AHL TMJ pain treatment,
How long does it take for Recovery from Concussion Symptoms, Mild TBI Symptoms, and MVA TMJ Whiplash Symptoms?


Most people will recover from Concussion, MVA TMJ Whiplash, and Traumatic Brain Injury symptoms within a few days to a few months, however, some will suffer from persistent symptoms or develop new symptoms over time such as persistent headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, TMJ clicking, throat problems (fullness in the throat, trouble swallowing), ear problems (ringing in the ear, dizziness, poor balance), and eye problems (blurry vision).

Having these persistent symptoms or new symptoms could also be a result of a TMJ Disorder. 

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Is the TMJ to Blame for my Persistent Symptoms from a:
  • Concussion (Post Concussion Syndrome)? 
  • MVA TMJ Whiplash? 
  • Mild TBI?

The Trigeminal Nerve (for the upper jaw/teeth, lower jaw/teeth, TMJ, sinuses, meninges covering of the brain) communicates with the:

  • nerves for the neck muscles

  • nerves for the trapezius and SCM muscle

  • nerves for throat and tongue 

  • nerves for the ear 

  • nerves for the facial muscles

  • emotional pain center

  • brain area for concentration and sleep

This is why if the TMJ and Trigeminal nerve is injured during a concussion, MVA or minor TBI, there can be a wide array of head, neck, and facial pain symptoms.  The TMJ (jaw joint) does not require direct trauma to be suffered in order for it to be affected, just like a mild tramautic brain injury or whiplash. 

Concussions from Playing Sports (aka. Sports-Related Concussions)

Concussions are a common occurrence when playing sports.  High school athletes and professional athletes suffer thousands of concussions every year, most often in ice hockey, football, soccer, rugby, wrestling, lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, volleyball, and cheerleading.

Being "knocked out" or a loss of consciousness does not always occur during a concussion.  A child, teen or adult can suffer from a concussion when their mental status has changed as a result of the trauma (usually to the head) and then shows a sign of mental confusion.

Sports-related concussion can result in​:

  • Physical Symptoms, such as headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, facial pain, fatigue, dizziness, poor balance problems, unable to walk, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, photophobia (light sensitivity), phonophobia (sound sensitivity), loss of consciousness, loss of balance, poor coordination, and decreased playing ability​

  • Cognitive Mental Symptoms, such as ex. amnesia, forgetfulness, unable to focus or concentrate, brain fog, feeling in a fog, mental exhaustion, slowed reaction times, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, confusion, and feeling dazed.

  • Behavioral Changes, such as Irritability, emotional lability, sadness, anxiety, inappropriate emotions.

  • Sleep Disturbances, such as drowsiness, trouble falling asleep, sleeping more than usual, and sleeping less than usual.

For many athletes, the concussion symptoms disappear after 10 days, but they can last for months.  However, some athletes can develop Post-Concussion Syndrome where there are persistent physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.  The result of these symptoms can cause the child, teen, or adult to miss school or work. 

Kids, teens, and adults should seek careful evaluation and management of any sports-related concussion and evaluate if the

Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome symptoms are TMJ-related.

  • Marar M et al. Epidemiology of Concussions Among United States High School Athletes in 20 Sports. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2012;40(4):747–55.

  • Pfister T et al. The incidence of concussion in youth sports: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;50(5):292–7.3. 

  • Prien A et al. Epidemiology of Head Injuries Focusing on Concussions in Team Contact Sports: A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine. 2018;48(4):953–69.

TMJ Disorder (TMJ/TMD) Evaluation for Persistent Symptoms from a Concussion, MVA TMJ Whiplash, and/or Mild TBI ?

The TMJ should be evaluated if there are persistent concussion or TBI symptoms, no brain damage evidence, or your health care provider's treatment is not providing relief (ie. medical doctor, neurologist, ENT, chiropractor, physiotherapist, massage therapist, osteopath).

A delay in diagnosis can lead to Chronic Pain Syndrome (pain that has lasted longer than 3 months to 6 months) due to neuroplasticity and central sensitization from the person’s unresolved craniofacial pain, TMJ pain, and neck pain caused by the accident (Sessle, 2009).

When facial, mouth, or jaw pain or related dysfunction becomes chronic, there can be emotional, psychological, and social disturbances that compromise the person’s well-being and quality of life. The person’s well-being and quality of life can be compromised due to emotional, psychological, and social disturbances that occur when related to dysfunction or pain in the facial, mouth, or jaw area (Sessle, 2009)

This is why it is important to determine as soon as possible if the TMJ is causing your symptoms.  TMJ MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) can be used to verify the dysfunction of the TMJ joint.

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Temporomandibular Disorder and Headaches.

MVA, Concussion & TBI Treatment