Dealing with chronic pain like TMJ poses many challenges for the physical and mental health of sufferers. One of the big challenges for older Americans with chronic pain is depression. Chronic pain is a daily drag on their mood, and it can keep them from engaging in activities that can relieve depression, such as socializing.

However, a new study suggests that social media can help fill the gap, buffering older adults from depression.

Two men of different generations sit in a living room sharing a joke with each other

How TMJ Can Make It Hard to Socialize

People with TMJ can experience major challenges when it comes to socializing. Jaw pain and restricted jaw motion related to TMJ can make it hard to speak. Or people may develop jaw pain after socializing with people where they engage in simple activities like talking or even smiling. This can make people avoid socializing.

In addition, TMJ can make it hard to eat or limit one’s diet. This can increase the stress around social activities centered on food. Since food is so central to many social activities, this could be very limiting.

As people get older, the impact of TMJ can be even more serious. As the body adapts to the imbalance of TMJ, the impact can spread, contributing to back pain and limited mobility. In addition, TMJ symptoms like tinnitus can cause depression.

Social Media Can Get around These Limits

This study, conducted by the University of Michigan, confirmed that people age 65 and older with chronic pain tended to avoid face-to-face social contact. However, 17% of adults in this group of 3400 Medicare beneficiaries in 2011 used social media sites–and this wasn’t significantly impacted by their pain.

Researchers found that social media could alleviate the isolating impact of chronic pain and help seniors with pain to avoid depression.

TMJ Pain Relief Is Available

Of course, the best way to avoid the impacts of chronic pain is to relieve it. For many people with TMJ, treatment is very effective at reducing pain and improving function. This makes it different from other chronic pain conditions that may have few treatment options–and most of them invasive, ineffective, or linked with powerful side effects.

TMJ treatment, on the other hand, can be very effective. It doesn’t have to be invasive–most people just use a bite splint that they wear at night. And side effects are few because there is neither surgery nor drugs involved.

If you are looking for relief from TMJ, it’s best to get treatment sooner rather than later. To learn how TMJ treatment can potentially help you, please call (248) 480-0085 today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad at the Michigan Center for TMJ and Sleep Wellness, serving the Detroit area from Rochester Hills.