If you experience pain and discomfort in your jaw on a regular basis, you may have TMJ. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, and it impacts a lot of people. Here are the signs and symptoms of TMJ and how your chiropractor may be able to help.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury to your temporomandibular joint, which is the connection between your jawbone and skull. An injury in this joint can lead to pain with chewing, clicking of the jaw, swelling of the face, nerve inflammation, headaches and teeth grinding. You can even have trouble with the Eustachian tubes, which are tubes that lead from your ear to your throat.
Risk Factors for TMJ
TMJ has several risk factors, a few which may surprise you. First, poor posture in your neck and upper back can lead to neck strain which can then lead to jaw muscle malfunction. Stress can also impact TMJ, because it increases muscle tension and jaw clenching. It turns out that women ages 18 to 44 are at the most risk of getting TMJ and if you have any other chronic inflammatory disorders it can also increase your risk.
Causes of TMJ
Though it’s not exactly known what causes TMJ, several common things have been observed in people with the disorder. Some causes may include misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding and excessive gum chewing.
Symptoms of TMJ
The main symptom of TMJ is pain in your jaw joint. The pain can involve your ear, face, eye, neck and forehead. You may also experience popping or clicking of the joint, crackling in the ears, a sense of fullness in the ears, ringing or popping sounds, headaches, blurred vision, tight or stiff jaw or neck muscles, shoulder pain and locking or dislocation of your jaw.
To diagnose TMJ, your chiropractor will examine your jaw and may ask you to perform some tasks as they monitor the joint. They can also looks for signs of inflammation or abnormalities in the joint and surrounding muscle. If they diagnose you with TMJ then treatment may include chiropractic manipulation, massage, special exercises and/or hot/cold compresses. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may refer you to a dentist or orthodontist to help treat you in tandem.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, talk with your chiropractor about it. They can definitely help to identify the problem and make life a little easier for you!