Temporomandibular Joint Pain
Temporomandibular Disorder or TMD is a broad term referring to problems with the jaws and their functioning. It is commonly referred to as "TMJ". This system is very complex and problems are caused by a variety of factors. The temporomandibular system consists of three basic components: the temporomandibular joint itself, the teeth and the neuromuscular system.
TMJ: This term that is often used to describe TMD, but it specifically refers to the joints that work your lower jaw, or mandible. Neither joint works alone. When your jaw functions, both joints will be working. There is also a small cartilage disc between the lower jaw and the skull within the joint. When healthy, the disc acts as a sort of "shock absorber" for the joint. Teeth: The alignment of your bite and the functioning of the TMJ's are directly connected. Neuromuscular: This system is made up of the nerves and muscles which work the temporomandibular system. These nerves and muscles move only the lower jaw (mandible) since it only moves during functional movements like eating or talking. The nerves transmit the messages for the muscles to move the jaw and also send pain signals to the brain.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms can include some or all of the following:
- Awareness of grinding/clenching teeth while sleeping or awake (bruxism)
- Cervical tension and pain (neck pain)
- Clicks, pops, or grinding sound in jaw joint
- Difficulty opening jaw
- Ear pain
- Jaw pain and/or stiffness
- Painful or tender jaw joint
- Pain and fatigue when eating hard or chewy foods
- Sensitive teeth / tooth soreness or toothaches
- Tooth wear
Temporomandibular disorders come in many forms and varying degrees of severity. Basically, TMD is a problem when you either experience pain and/or loss of jaw function. Loss of function can range from mild jaw stiffness to being unable to open your mouth at all.
Common Causes of TMD
TMD rarely has one single cause. Any of the following factors may contribute to TMD. Each patient presents with an individual combination of factors.
Acute trauma to the jaw can cause damage to the muscles and/or joint. Trauma to the joint can lead to chronic damage which may eventually contribute to a TMD problem at a later time. Trauma can be from an automobile accident, blunt force, falling or physical harm.
This refers to a non-functional grinding and clenching of the teeth. Some do this while awake, but more often it is done while sleeping. Bruxism is the most common factor found in TMD.
This is due to overall poor posture.
Treatment Of TMD
At Synergy Therapeutic Group we can treat TMD with amazing results because we address all of the contributing factors and treat them in a systematic fashion. Low level laser therapy is also very affective in this type of cases.