Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD or TMD), or TMJ syndrome, is an umbrella term covering acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the mandible to the skull.  The disorder and resultant dysfunction can result in significant pain and impairment.  Because the disorder transcends the boundaries between several health-care disciplines — in particular, dentistry and neurology — there are a variety of treatment approaches.

The temporomandibular joint is susceptible to many of the conditions that affect other joints in the body, including ankylosis, arthritis, trauma, dislocations, developmental anomalies, and neoplasia.

An older name for the condition is “Costen syndrome”, named for the man who partially characterized it in 1934.

Signs and symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder vary in their presentation and can be very complex, but are often simple.  On average the symptoms will involve more than one of the numerous TMJ components: muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, bones, connective tissue, and the teeth. Ear pain associated with the swelling of proximal tissue is a symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder.

Symptoms associated with TMJ disorders may be:

  • Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face
  • Earache (particularly in the morning)
  • Headache (particularly in the morning)
  • Migraine (particularly in the morning)
  • Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Reduced ability to open or close the mouth
  • Tinnitus
  • Neck and shoulder pain

What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) Disorder?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) symptoms can be an effect of trauma such as a car accident (whiplash for example) an injury to the joint, improper alignment of the jaw and teeth, vigorous chewing, prolonged dental work, clenching or grinding of the teeth, especially while sleeping, can also cause or aggravate symptoms.

How Can a Chiropractor Do For Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

The pain and discomfort caused by TMJ may be severe, can be either intermittent or constant, and may last for many years. Symptoms may recur during stressful times, whether good or bad. There are some steps to take to help relieve some of your pain such as, moist heat, ice, soft diet, jaw exercise, relaxation techniques, relax facial musical, and sleep on your side. Chiropractic Care may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments. If you or anyone you know suffers from TMJ or any type of facial or neck pain, we can likely relieve your systems naturally, without the use of drugs or surgery. Please contact a Chiropractic office for more information.