TMJ Disorders and Pain Therapy
There are many symptoms of TMJ disorders that can present themselves in a variety of ways. The abbreviation "TMJ" literally refers to the jaw joint but is often used to mean any disorders or symptoms of the jaw joint region and these disorders are better referred to as TMD. Many TMD symptoms are caused by the effects of physical and emotional stress while others can be caused by trauma to the head, neck or jaw.
TMD Signs and Symptoms
A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMD. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint, is the most common symptom.
Other likely symptoms include:
• Limited movement or locking of the jaw,
• Radiating pain in the face, neck or shoulders,
• Painful clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.
• A sudden, major change in the way the upper and lower teeth ﬁt together.
Symptoms such as headaches, earaches, dizziness and hearing problems may sometimes be related to TMD. It is important to keep in mind however, that occasional discomfort in the jaw joint or chewing muscles is quite common and is generally not a cause for concern.
Treatment of TMD
Dr Tony Simeone strongly believes in treatment using a multidisciplinary model.
Many times the patient will present with symptoms that are clearly a result of improper function of the Temporomandibular joint, however the cause may be due to poor posture, bad bite, and prior injuries distant from the site of where they may be experiencing pain. In these cases working in a multidisciplinary approach betters the outcome of care. This may include Chiropractors, Physio Therapists, Fitness coaches, Nutritionists, and Certified Massage Therapists as well as Medical Practitioners, medical specialists such as ENT, Neurologists and Oral Surgeons.
A Self-Test For TMD You Can Take Right Now
Answer the following questions:
- Do you get frequent headaches or facial pain?
- Do you get frequent neck aches or shoulder aches?
- Do you ﬁnd yourself clenching your teeth during the day?
- Do you grind your teeth at night?
- Do you wake up with your teeth clenched?
- Do you have unexplained ear pain or congestion?
- Do you have pain behind your eyes?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, especially 2 or more, there is a good chance you may have TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction).
Try the following self-assessment for TMD:
- Put the pad of one ﬁnger (use the index ﬁnger) in each ear and with the pad facing forward toward your nose, press your ﬁngers forward – is it tender? If it is this can indicate inﬂammation in the temporomandibular joint. With your ﬁngers still in your ears, open and close- do you feel or hear any popping or clicking? Popping or clicking can indicate problems with the cartilage that is in the joint space.
- Press a ﬁnger just slightly in front of the opening of your ears- do you feel tenderness? A yes response again could indicate inﬂammation within the joint.
- With your index, middle and ring ﬁnger held together, open your mouth and see if you can place them vertically between your upper and lower front teeth? If you cannot, this is often a sign of TMD problems.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek advice from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.