What is the TMJ?
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, which attaches the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. This joint is involved in talking, chewing, yawning, etc. Many people carry stress in this area and suffer from pain and dysfunction of the joint, which is called TMJ syndrome or a TMJ disorder. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that over 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. They have also found that it is more common in women than men, especially women in their childbearing years.
The Temporomandibular Joint
The temporomandibular joint itself is complex. There are many muscles involved in the smooth and synergistic movement of the TMJ. There are muscles on the outside of your cheek, on the inside of your jaw, and underneath your jaw that all influence the normal motion of the joint. There are also nerves that are involved in the function of those muscles and hence a smooth functioning TMJ.
What are the causes of TMJ disorders?
TMJ disorders can be caused by several factors including abnormal muscular function in the joint area, injury to the jaw or head and neck area, whiplash, arthritis in the joint, clenching or grinding of the teeth, or stress held in the joint area.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of a TMJ disorder are clicking, popping, locking, and unnatural deviation of the jaw during opening, closing, or chewing. It often causes pain in the face, jaw, ear, neck and shoulder areas. It’s also commonly associated with headaches, toothaches, earaches, pain behind the eyes, and dizziness.
What is the solution?
Some doctors may recommend surgery for this condition, but this should be a last resort. There have been no long-term studies testing the safety and effectiveness of these procedures.
We have had incredible results in working with people’s chronic and acute TMJ problems at Health in Balance. We work on restoring correct muscle function utilizing gentle physical therapies. We determine the state of the related muscles- whether some are too weak and others are too tight. We then work to rebalance the muscles using kinesiological techniques, massage, and therapy techniques. Together these treatments address the cause of the dysfunction and restore the joint to normal functioning!
There is hope for relieving TMJ pain and fixing the underlying problems. If you yourself are suffering from a TMJ disorder or you know someone who is, we invite you to visit Health in Balance for a complimentary consultation with one of our doctors to discuss the issue. We will provide you with advice on moving forward and restoring your TMJ health. We want to see you free of pain and thriving in every way!