I grind my teeth and I know that it is the main reason for most of my TMJ problems. I’ve had symptoms such as facial pain, stiff jaw, and ringing in my ear, so I sought treatment and did splint therapy to help. Recently, I’ve noticed numbness or a “pins and needles” feeling in a few fingers – almost as if they are asleep. Someone told me that is another symptom of TMJ, but I guess I don’t get how they are connected. Right now, I have literally no TMJ pain. Are my numb fingers a new symptom? — Mike in Florida
What you are experiencing with your fingers could no doubt be connected to your TMJ and about half of all TMJ patients also experience it. You may be wondering how it is connected, but think about it… when your bite is misaligned (as in the case of a TMJ patient), your muscles can spasm. A misaligned jaw can cause problems down through all your extremities because all of our muscles are connected. When you have spasms in your face, shoulders, or neck from TMJ, it can pinch nerves and affect the arms and fingers periodically with sensations of numbness or tingling. This can happen even if you are not experiencing any of your other normal TMJ symptoms. You should make an appointment you’re your doctor to discuss this new symptom so he can evaluate your situation.