According to information from a new study, there may be a link between depression and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ is a condition that affects the muscles and joints that connect a person’s skull and his or her lower jaw. This study was published online in the Journal of Pain.
The German study was conducted with researchers analyzing data collected from more than 4,000 patients who had both undergone medical/oral health exams and TMJ pain assessments as well as taken part in a questionnaire that looked at their psychiatric risk factor. The results of the study showed that depression symptoms were linked to the muscle pain caused by TMJ. TMJ pain may be a physical symptom of depression or anxiety, according to the researchers. The researchers explained that the study showed that mental disorders could cause more activity in the jaw muscles, which could also cause pain and inflammation.
Dr. Stefan Kindler of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery/plastic surgery at the University of Greifswald and colleagues also believe that chemical imbalances in the brains of depressed people could eventually lead to patients processing pain differently. Previous research has suggested a link between depression and TMJ pain, the authors of the new study pointed out in a news release from the American Pain Society. Based on their findings, Kindler’s team concluded that there is a moderate to strong link between depression and anxiety symptoms and TMJ pain.
Depression is a debilitating condition that is often treated with antidepressant medications like Paxil and Effexor. Both Paxil and Effexor can cause patients to suffer from serious adverse side effects, which include violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior. Paxil and Effexor also can cause babies born to mothers who take the pills to be born with birth defects. Some of the birth defects include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects and oral clefts.