What Is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts sort of a sliding hinges, connecting your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorder causes pain within the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement which may be caused by a variety of medical problems; however the precise cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Certain facial muscles that control chewing are also attached to the lower jaw. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders. Problems in this area can cause head and neck pain, facial pain, ear pain, headaches, a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open, problems with biting, and jaw clicking or popping sounds when you bite. The TMJ is comprised of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. In most cases, the pain and discomfort related with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or non-invasive treatments.
What causes Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth.
Some causes of TMJ are-
• The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
• Wear & tear of the jaw joint due to osteoarthritis
• Severe trauma or disease
• Fibromyalgic pain
• Improper alignment of the teeth
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• The joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis
What are Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
• Pain or tenderness on your jaw
• Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
• Pain while chewing, talking or yawning
• Aching facial pain
• Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
• Frequent headaches
• The face and mouth may swell on the affected side.
• Lock jaw
• Back, neck & shoulder pain
• Chronic earaches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and hearing loss.
• Joints produce sounds, such as clicking, grating or popping.
Is There a Way to Prevent TMJ disorder?
Yes, there are some listed ways-
• Avoid chewing gum or biting on objects, such as pens or fingernails.
• Avoid eating hard or chewy food.
• Avoid large bites while eating.
• Regular massage of jaw, cheeks and temple muscles can help.
• Maintain good sleep posture with neck support.
• See your dentist if you grind your teeth at night or find yourself clenching your jaw.
Treatment with Physical therapy at SOS PHYSIO
Patients with recurrent or chronic TMJ syndrome are referred for physical therapy. SOS PHYSIO’s professionals physical therapist can help restore joint mobility, increase muscle strength, and relieve pain through Manual therapy and Active Release Techniques (ART).
For more information- Contact your local SOS PHYSIO clinic.