What is TMJ?
TMJ refers to Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction (TMD) a.k.a. clicking or locking of the jaw. Sound familiar? Up to 25% of the population have or are currently experiencing this problem! The TMJ joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw, directly in front of your ears.
TMJ is divided into 3 subtypes (often existing together):
- Myofascial pain dysfunction.
- Internal derangement.
- Degenerative joint disease.
A history of pain/difficulty while chewing, headaches, jaw pain, and even earaches can accompany this; along with jaw tenderness, jaw asymmetry (misaligned bite), and a decreased range of motion (the inability to fully open your jaw), others will exhibit upper cervical tightness, and tension in their shoulders and neck muscles (trapezius, levanter scapula, and sternocleidomastoid).
Clearly jaw pain can have an enormous influence and effect on the body, so how do you fix it?
Here are two effective, non-surgical, treatment options:
- Myofascial release and trigger point therapy:
The Pterygoid muscles (medial and lateral) are more often than not the culprit of TMD, along with the Masseter and Temporalis. Friction massage and “stripping” these muscles often provides benefits.
- Osseous Mobes/Manipulation:
Motion is lotion! When a joint isn’t functioning properly, a lack of movement is almost always associated with. Stretching the hypomobile muscles along with TMJ and cervical spine manipulation/adjustments, help induced movement back into a joint.
When can you except relief? With the above-mentioned treatment, 75% of patients will have symptoms resolve within three months. If symptoms fail to resolve, consider a Dentist specializing in TMJ syndrome.