By Dr. Frederick Abeles

Published June 26, 2022

Home Blog Does TMJ cause dizziness?

The answer is yes, TMJ can cause dizziness. But understand, there are several causes of dizziness and vertigo. TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder is only one of them. The key is to determine if TMJ is the cause – or is it something else?

Picture this. You’re getting ready to meet your friends for dinner. It’s your first night out in three months.  All of a sudden, the room starts spinning. You can’t even stand. You plop down in the chair, close your eyes and hope to God it passes quickly.

A few minutes later you slowly open your eyes. Damn. The room’s still spinning. You start to feel a bit nauseated and a bead of sweat breaks out on your brow.

One thing’s for sure. You’re definitely not going out to dinner tonight. Next stop… straight to bed.

You’ve just had an attack of vertigo. What happened? What caused it? How long will it last? How can you get rid of it?

How are TMJ and vertigo related?

First, we need a brief anatomy lesson.

We have three things that send a signal to our brain about our position and balance.

One. Our eyes. Our eyes send a signal to our brain if we’re moving or stationary.

Two. Our muscles. Our muscles have a sensory system built into them called proprioception. Our muscles send a signal to our brain whether we’re moving or still.

Three. Our ears. Our ears have a sensory system built into them. Three tiny, delicate, semicircular canals in our inner ear. They’re fluid-filled tubes that send signals to our brain if we’re moving or stationary.

If all three are in sync, i.e., sending the same signal… we’re good to go.

But if our eyes and muscles say we’re stationary and our ears say we’re moving… the brain doesn’t know what to do with the conflicting signals. The result. We’re dizzy.

Say we just got off a roller coaster. We get out and stand up. Our eyes send a signal that we’re stationary, standing there not moving. Our muscles send a signal that we’re stationary. But the fluid in the tiny tubes in our ears is still moving a bit and sends a signal that we’re moving.

The brain can’t process the disparate signals – and we feel a little bit dizzy when we get off the roller coaster.

So, how can TMJ cause dizziness?

The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) connects your lower jaw to your head. The ball inside the socket of the TMJ gets positioned by your bite (how your teeth fit together).

If your bite is positioning the ball too far up into the socket or too far back into the socket, the additional pressure on the temporal bone housing the joint (the temporal bone houses both the TMJ and the inner ear) has pressure on it that can disrupt the tiny, delicate semicircular canals which are part of our balance organ.

So, an improper bite can misplace the ball in the socket of the TMJ which can adversely affect the semicircular canals in our middle ear which can send a bad signal to our brain which can make us have vertigo and feel dizzy, nauseous and disoriented. Whew! Got it?

And the dizziness can last for a few seconds or a few days. The severity of the attack varies greatly. For some people it’s an occasional, minor annoyance. For others, it’s completely debilitating and they cannot function normally.

The crucial first step to get rid of your dizziness.

Job number one for us is to determine as quickly as possible, if your dizziness is caused by an underlying TMJ problem or not. In other words, we want to rule in or rule out if TMJ is the cause of your vertigo.

If you have other symptoms of TMJ such as clicking, popping or locking in your jaw joints when you open, close, chew – or pain around the jaw joints, head or neck… then there’s an increased likelihood that your vertigo/dizziness is in fact caused by a TMJ problem.

If it’s TMJ-related… we can help. If it’s not TMJ-related, we can refer you for the proper evaluation and treatment elsewhere, having determined that TMJ is not the cause.

 

If you want help…

Call us and request an appointment. We know what to look for to evaluate and treat TMJ dizziness. Our MIRO Therapy® for TMJ is so effective it comes with an unconditional money-back guarantee.

Click here to learn about MIRO Therapy®