TMJ pain disorders usually occur because of unbalanced activity, spasm, or overuse of the jaw muscles.
Because muscles and joints work together, a problem with either one can lead to stiffness, headaches, ear pain, bite problems (malocclusion), clicking sounds, or locked jaws.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the area directly in front of the ear on either side of the head where the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) meet. Within the TMJ, there are moving parts that allow the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw. This joint is a typical sliding “ball and socket” that has a disc sandwiched between it.
The following are behaviors or conditions that can lead to TMJ disorders.
- Teeth grinding and teeth clenching increase the wear on the cartilage lining of the TMJ.
- Habitual gum chewing or fingernail biting
- Dental problems and misalignment of the teeth.
- Trauma to the jaws: Previous fractures in the jaw or facial bones can lead to TMJ disorders.
- Stress frequently leads to unreleased nervous energy. It is very common for people under stress to release this nervous energy by either consciously or unconsciously grinding and clenching their teeth.
- Occupational tasks or habits such as holding the telephone between the head and shoulder may contribute to TMJ disorders.
TMJ pain disorders usually occur because of unbalanced activity, spasm, or overuse of the jaw muscles. Symptoms tend to be chronic, and treatment is aimed at eliminating the precipitating factors. Many symptoms may not appear related to the TMJ itself. The following are common symptoms:
- Ear pain
- Sounds: Grinding, crunching, clicking, or popping sounds, medically termed crepitus, are common for patients with a TMJ disorder.
- Fullness of the ear: About 33% of patients with a TMJ disorder describe muffled, clogged, or full ears.
- Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
At the Blatman Health and Wellness Center , our goal is not only to treat and relieve your TMJ Syndrome symptoms, but also to unlock the source of your pain and work towards eliminating the cause.