Chronic pain can make life miserable in a variety of ways. Besides causing lingering discomfort, it can also negatively impact a person both socially and professionally. It’s hard to excel at work when you’re dealing with pain that won’t go away. Likewise, it’s difficult to fulfill relationship obligations and enjoy social situations, when pain is at the forefront of your mind. To make things worse, a new study suggests that unrelenting pain may have the power to harm our abilities to remember.

Disrupting Brain Function

For years, researchers have associated chronic pain with memory problems. Now, a group of Portuguese researchers seem to have uncovered the reason. Appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience, their study demonstrated that persistent pain has the ability to negatively affect mental function by disrupting the way brain regions work together to retain short-term memories.

The researchers used rats to prove that chronic pain could “overwhelm” critical regions of the brain which are responsible for creating memories. Ultimately, this resulted in a “clear reduction” in the mice’s ability to perform in mazes that required memory recall.

How it Relates to TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorder causes a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including jaw clicking, chewing difficulties, facial tenderness and even ringing in the ears. Unfortunately, it can also result in chronic headaches and jaw pain that can make life nearly unbearable. This recent study suggests that TMD-related pain could also lead to memory problems which could have big implications. After all, while it may prove frustrating to lose car keys or the television remote; forgetting important details at work could actually lead to job loss.

Getting Help

If temporomandibular joint disorder is negatively impacting the quality of your life, now is the time to step out of the shadows and ask for help. At Smile Columbia, Dr. Adam Hahn offers effective TMD relief by providing a treatment plan which focuses on the root cause of this frustrating disorder: a misaligned bite. To learn more, contact our office today or call (803) 781-9090.