What is a TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, it can lead to a localized pain disorder called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

What are the top major causes of TMJ?

Causes of TMJ disorders include injury to the teeth or jaw, misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding or clenching, poor posture, stress, arthritis, and gum chewing.

Signs and symptoms that you may suffer fromTMJ:

  • jaw pain
  • jaw clicking and popping
  • ear pain/earache
  • popping sounds in ears
  • headaches
  • stiff or sore jaw muscles
  • pain in the temple area
  • locking of the jaw joint

Foods to avoid with TMJ:

  • hard or chewy foods
  • nuts
  • pretzels
  • popcorn
  • chips
  • gum
  • caramel
  • gummy candies
  • carrots
  • whole apples
  • hard breads
  • ice

How to treat TMJ?

To help your TMJ there are a few things you can do to relieve the pain. Find the area that the pain is stemming from and try home massage or gentle stretches of the jaw and neck. Also, if you can reduce stress in your life that will help loosen up the area of the jaw. Physical Therapists are able to mobilize the joint and reduce muscle spasm through varying means to restore normal movement. Often the upper neck ( or cervical region) affects the way that the TMJ joint moves and this should be evaluated  to eliminate the pain in your jaw.

What happens when TMJ goes untreated?
Without treatment, TMJ can worsen the pain, leading to excruciating levels that may require medical intervention. If TMJ goes untreated patients may experience debilitating neck or jaw pain, depression, malnutrition, or even resulting in eating disorders as a result of their pain.

Watch this YouTube video from one of our providers to understand more about jaw pain and TMJ:

Visit one of our clinics today to have a provider alleviate your TMJ and jaw pain.