Have you been having jaw pain, clicking or popping? Has eating, talking or even yawning been incredibly painful? You may be dealing with TMD! In this post we’ll go over the three most important things to know about TMJ syndrome.
1.What is TMJ?
2. Why does my jaw hurt?
3. What is the best way to fix my jaw pain?
What is TMD?
TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction) is a functional condition involving your jaw bone (the mandible) and the associated muscles and connective tissues. This is not to be confused with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) which is a piece of anatomy. The TMJ shares nerves with structures in the face, head, and neck. When one region is irritated the others are also.
Why does my jaw hurt?
Generally there is not a specific injury (fall, slip, etc) that causes it. Instead it is most often a cumulative issue (builds up over time). In some instances the disc of your jaw can become compressed or inflamed.Contributing factors include muscle tightness, poor mechanics, reduced jaw alignment, previous dental work/ procedures, stress or a combination of the above. It is important for each factor to be evaluated in order to find the right course of treatment. Symptoms include sharp pain, ear pressure/pain, clicking, popping and headaches.
What is the best way to fix my jaw pain?
With most cases of TMD a conservative, non surgical approach is best. A combination of hands on care with structured rehab has the best results. Additionally your dentist ought to be involved in your care, they may recommend a night guard or splint to improve alignement for long term changes. See our interview with Dr. Cathy Graves (link)
Treatment options include:
o Acupuncture or dry needling to the muscles of the jaw
o Specific myofascial therapy (to improve jaw motion and reduce pain)
o Cervical (neck) adjusting to offload th e jaw
o Specialized jaw exercises (to retrain proper alignment)
o Tempromandibular mobilization and manipulation (improve joint motion)
In order to have fast relief from your jaw pain it is recommended to work with a provider that specializes or has experience with TMD. If you are experiencing what jaw pain, call to book an appointment today or this week. We will get to the bottom of this together.