TMJ is the abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. This is a vital joint that is formed by the skull and the jaw bone which also includes the muscles required for chewing. It will serve as a sliding hinge which connects the jawbone with the skull. The TMJ is responsible to open and close the mouth, allows the jaw in moving side to side and up and down smoothly and also allows one in talking, chewing and yawning. When pain is felt in this area, the dentist will refer this condition as TMD.
TMJ Pain and its Main Causes
The bones present in the joint are usually separated through a cartilage which is in the shape of a disc which helps to keep the movement of the jaw smooth. As the muscles get irritated there will be a displacement of the disc or in case a person suffers from arthritis or other joint issues there may be a disruption in the smoothness. Some of the common symptoms of discomfort here include not capable of opening the jaw wide, joint tenderness, muscle tenderness, clicking, popping to name a few. There are three types of pain that a person may feel in this joint namely the degenerative joint disease such as jaw joint arthritis, the joint’s internal derangement or a disc that is displaced or dislocated or the myofascial pain. Some of the common factors that can boost up the risk to develop TMJ include clenching and grinding of teeth, stress or jaw injury.
Ways to Manage TMJ Pain
When it comes to treating or reversing the TMJ related pain there are some conservative steps that can be taken such as to practice stretching the jaw in a gentle way to increase its movement, learning techniques to reduce stress and relax, avoid extreme jaw movements, apply ice packs and eat softer foods. Exercises, soft tissue massage and spinal manipulative therapy will also help to cut down the symptoms and pain. Intraoral Myofascial release is another way healthcare practitioners use for releasing the muscles that surround the joint and access it from the inner part of the person’s cheeks. After all, TMJ is basically a joint and chiropractors being experts of joints and muscles can help in assessing the function of the TMJ thereby determining the finest means of managing the pain. No matter the method selected for alleviating the TMJ pain, co-management, cognitive behavioral therapy or self-care amid the chiropractor and the dentist, one should be aware that there are choices which can help. Discussing with the chiropractor will help one select a method which is ideal for them.
TMJ- The Different Treatments
Today different types of treatments are available for TMJ which will cater to one’s needs, budget and lifestyle. The common treatments include,
- Dry Needling- This method uses sterilized and specialized needles for releasing tight connective/fascial tissue. Dry needling will cause no or little pain and with time will help in releasing tight tissues associated to TMJ. This method will help to relieve pain as well as treat tension headaches.
- Mouth Guards- Experienced dentists will make a mouth guard which is basically a device that is put between the teeth at night. Mouth guards are made especially for one which can aid prevent teeth clenching as well as hold the mouth in that position which does not stress the jaw.
- Physical Therapy- Different therapies are used by physical therapists for relieving the symptoms. The therapist can teach the patient exercises and stretches to aid relax the jaw. In fact, they may use cold and hot therapy too for relieving pain or utilize ultrasound therapy for releasing tension. The physical therapist will also help in improving and strengthening the posture that can prove beneficial to relieve TMJ disorders. Bad habits such as biting fingernails and stress may aggravate the situation. The therapist will work closely with the patient to stop such habits thereby finding better means to handle stress. Know more about TMJ at Vero Dental Arts.
If you are a victim of TMJ then you are definitely not alone. Innumerable people these days complain of this problem. Relax there is good news. Today as mentioned above there are various treatment choices available which can solve this issue. Take a look at the key benefits of undergoing these treatments,
- No More Pain- TMJ does not mean only joint or tooth pain. The medical experts are aware that patients suffering from TMJ also experience pain in the face, neck, upper back and shoulder.
- No Damage Risk- Most people who are victims of TMJ begin to grind their teeth heavily. This grinding known as bruxism is awful for one’s oral health. This is because it will wear down the teeth thereby leaving it prone to breakage or decay. Besides this problem will put enough pressure on the jaw and joints meaning that other symptoms will turn worse.
- Fewer Headaches and Earaches- People with TMJ also complain of headaches and earaches. The discomfort results from the pressure which is amid the muscles of the jaws. A key benefit of undergoing a TMJ treatment is that it will reduce both the frequency and severity of headaches and earaches. This way one will feel better on a day to day basis.
- Enjoy Eating- After undergoing the TMJ treatment people can again enjoy eating. When the symptoms turn severe the patient begins to reduce their intake of food because of oral pain. It is this pain that will make a vicious cycle thereby increasing one’s emotional stress and impacting the health in its entirety in a negative way.
- Better Days- As the pain will subside one can eat more which means their days will be better. The patient will feel better as well as speak better. When there is more confidence and less pain, life automatically will be better.
With the right TMJ treatment one can experience an improved mood, better sleep and more. So, if you are a victim of TMJ consult a specialist at the earliest and get the treatment done.