TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Pain and Dysfunction

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TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Pain and Dysfunction

85-90% of people will experience a TMJ-related symptom in their lifetime according to one study. Women tend to be affected more severely than men.

What is the TMJ?

The TMJ is the joint that allows you to open, close, and move your mouth from side to side. There is a small disc inside the joint for cushion that allows smooth movement. It involves a complex set of muscles which surround it, namely the temporalis, masseter, and pterygoids felt inside the mouth. Its proximity to the neck and ear make those two areas common sites for referred pain from the TMJ.

What are some complaints related to TMJ Dysfunction?

Headache
Ear Pain
Face pain on one side
TMJ pain with opening and closing the mouth
Joint sounds
Difficulty chewing
Ringing in the ear
Dizziness
Neck stiffness
Sinus congestion

What are some causes of TMJ Dysfunction?

Direct trauma to the joint
Whiplash
Arthritis
Significant dental issues

What are some signs of TMJ Dysfunction?

Local pain
Clicking or popping in the joint
Inability to open the mouth fully
Fatigue with chewing
Jaw locking
Grinding sounds with opening and closing the mouth

How is TMJ pain/dysfunction treated?

All the surrounding muscles will be evaluated and released with soft tissue therapy
A safe and gentle adjustment will be done with the Activator tool on the side of restriction
The neck will be evaluated and treated in a similar manner to relieve the stress it may put on the TMJ
If dental involvement is significant, we would refer to a dentist who specializes in TMJ problems
References:
Souza, Thomas. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor: Protocols and Algorithms. Jones & Bartlett Learning; 4th edition (2009).

By: Dr. Eugenie Giasson-Gomez

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