• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of, and finding treatments for, complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) causing CFS, or is it the other way around ?

Hello everyone,

my name is Flo, I'm 34 years old and started having CFS around 4 years ago, the onset was very gradual. I don't know what triggered it, but 5 years ago several things happened : I've caught giarda intestinalis parasite, I've had a car accident, and I fell jaw first on the floor during a party, leaving me with TMJ : my jaw hurts and clicks when I open it, and it hurts when I talk for too long or when I'm under stress.

After all of these events, my health began to deteriorate slowly until I've reached a somewhat severe state on the cognitive side : I was unable to talk with someone for 5 minutes or work (I'm a developer) for 5 minutes, playing a video game would be too intense, etc. On the other side, I was very mild on the physical side and could go for very long walks or even run a bit, which is weird to me. And of course, a very intense feeling of fatigue.

Anyway, I'm wondering if the TMJ could be causing "inflammation" in my body and might be one of the causes, or the cause to my ME/CFS, or if the CFS is causing TMJ issues. I've also had my wisdom teeth removed and had an infection after that 4 years ago, which was cured with antibiotics.

Another thing that makes me wonder, is that most of my symptoms seem to be around my head (except poor digestion and IBS) : brain fog, glassy eyes and eye mucus coming out all day, runny nose, face a bit swollen and red. I've never had POTS, pain in my muscles, or symptoms in my body except for the IBS. Does anyone have a take on that ?

Sorry about my poor english skills and thank you for reading me.


Senior Member
TMJ certainly seems to be comorbid with ME/CFS and its definitely something people often look at before concluding they have ME/CFS. I don't think we are yet very close to understanding what the underlying cause for the symptoms are and why all these differing starting events cause the same set of lasting conditions. I would hope once we know the part that has gone awry and it will become clear how a virus, bacteria, stress or other impact on the body can result in this hay wire and horrific condition and sure then hope it comes with a solution pretty quickly.


Senior Member
United Kingdom
If TMJ is related to CFS I would speculate that it is because it is contributing to neck issues.

It's my understanding that TMJ is caused by the jaw being too far back thanks to poor craniofacial development. This pushes your tongue back into your throat and forces you into a more forward head posture, which if CFS makes connective tissues worse; could lead to problems in the brain stem area.

Correcting this issue is not easy however. The only way I can see of doing it post puberty would be expensive dental work.

perchance dreamer

Senior Member
I have some thoughts about relieving TMJ symptoms. First, I went to my dentist, who determined my bite was off, so she corrected that. It didn't require that much work.

Once that was done, I went to a biofeedback therapist for 2 sessions. In the first, the therapist attached electrodes to my face, and we looked at the monitor to see the amount of tension I was holding. Then I practiced relaxing my jaw, which caused the graph to normalize. This let me feel what it's like to relax my jaw. I had forgotten how.

For homework, she gave me instructions to relax my jaw about 10 seconds every 20 minutes while I was awake. I set a timer and did this until my next session. I had so much improvement the 2nd time. The idea of this kind of biofeedback is that regular, timed exercises cause jaw relaxation to be become automatic after a while.

If you can't go to a biofeedback clinic, you could practice this jaw relaxation exercise at home. You might try a warm washcloth or warm pack on your jaws to get them to relax first. When you relax your jaw, it helps relieve neck tension, too.

@ashram, your English is very good!


Senior Member
I agree 100% with maple. In my mind TMJ is usually an infection. Giardiasis is most likely if you had it and your immune system has not gotten rid of it yet.
Did you rule out a chronic infection in the jaw bone as your wisdom teeth were extracted and you had infection ?

No I didn't. I'm not sure what I should do about it, I've read that a cone beam might be useful to spot a jaw cavitation though. Maybe I should do that


Senior Member
There are many threads here on PR about jawbone cavitation. Please go through it.

I suspect I have chronic infection in jaw too as I had dry socket after wisdom teeth extraction and it is still painful even after 4 years. It was really a nightmare.( It damaged my TMJ and now have symptoms in neck, shoulder and back too.)
But I couldn't find any reliable dentist here who can treat cavitation . I do feel better after antibiotics so I just continue to take whenever symptoms become uncomfortable.It messing my gut but no option.
Last edited:


Senior Member
Seattle, WA USA
I've had a car accident, and I fell jaw first on the floor during a party, leaving me with TMJ : my jaw hurts and clicks when I open it, and it hurts when I talk for too long or when I'm under stress.

Hi ashram, and welcome to the forum. I had severe TMJ 12 years before coming down with ME/CFS during pregnancy. My TMJ dr had bent my fingers and wrists around and diagnosed me as hyper mobile. I fully believe being hyper mobile is a “trait” that is common in people with ME.

Also, the fall at the party could have injured your neck, research the AAI/CCI connection.

Best of luck to you!
TMJ pain was my first main symptom before slipping into severe/very severe M.E.

I can't remember the number of dentist visits I have made convinced that my teeth were rotten only for it to be diagnosed as TMJ issues.

I have tried various bite guards and exercises and am currently in the middle of another flare now. Recently I have been trying some home acupuncture and application of rare earth magnets that help somewhat.

I too had a traumatic 4 wisdom tooth extraction 31 years ago and was never the same after.