Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD)
Symptoms of TMJD
How many of you have you been told by your Dentist that you clench or grind your teeth?
It’s an unconscious habit that can be caused due to stress, or problems within the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). The TMJ is a hinge joint with muscles attached to allow for opening, closing and chewing. If any of the muscles are affected within or above and below the jaw, you may experience a multitude of symptoms.
Millions of people suffer from Temporomandibular joint disfunction or TMD everyday and many are undiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed.
TMJD can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from the following:
Tooth grinding and/or jaw clenching
Popping/clicking in the jaw joint
Aching or stiff neck/shoulders
Earaches, ear congestion, ringing or pain associated with the ears
Undiagnosed tooth pain
There are other factors that can cause TMD; one of them being misaligned teeth (overbite or underbite). It can also be from constant contraction of the jaw muscles (clenching or grinding). Bad posture can also be a factor especially forward head posture (from sitting at a desk all day or looking down at our phones).
Headaches are the most commonly misdiagnosed and your PCP will likely give you drugs and send you on your way. If you think you might have TMD and would like a diagnosis, talk to your Dentist and they may refer you to an Orofascial Pain Specialist for further treatment and/or a Medical Massage Therapist with a TMD certification such as myself. As a Medical Massage Practitioner, it is out of my scope of practice to diagnose anyone.
Treatment of TMD symptoms
My treatment involves a thorough medical history and assessment of the body. We look at the alignment of the feet, knees, hips, shoulders and neck. All of which can contribute to TMD symptoms. From there we focus on the muscles that are contributing to postural abnormalities and the muscles that attach to the head and jaw, neck, shoulders and facial muscles (inside and outside the mouth).