Having trouble with your jaw when chewing or yawning? Do you experience locking or immense pain when you bite into that steak? You may have a TMJ Disorder- a problem with the joint that attaches your jaw to your skull.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), but you may also hear it simply referred to as TMJ.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
TMJ symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Injury to your jaw, the TMJ itself, or the muscles of your head and neck — like from a heavy blow or whiplash — can lead to TMD. Other common causes include:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
- Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
What Are the Symptoms?
TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort. It might affect one or both sides of your face. For some reason more women than men have it, and it’s most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40. Common symptoms include:
Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide.
Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position.
Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
A tired feeling in your face,
Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly.
You may also have toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
Needless to say, it can be quite a debilitating and frustrating condition. The team at Kingsland Osteopaths are very familiar with diagnosing and treating TMD. We can help you to manage acute situations and give exercises to reduce long term chronic effects. Come and see us and get your TMJ checked, get back to eating widely and without restriction, and make sure that you don’t end up with headaches and neck pain that is referring from your jaw.
Give us a call to make an appointment, and if you know someone with jaw problems please let them know that we can help.