Temporomandibular joint disorders are commonly known as TMJ, for obvious reasons. Difficult to say and more painful to experience. This difficult-to-pronounce joint is located in front of the ear, and it allows our jaw to open and close smoothly. This should occur without pain, but not if you have TMJ issues.
The disorder of this joint is known as TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder. These joints connect your lower jawbone to your skull and help with chewing and speaking. TMD and TMJ are used interchangeably.
The disorder occurs when the muscles and ligaments around the jaw joints become inflamed or irritated. You can have short-term flare-ups that go away in a few days, or it can become chronic with the pain ranging from mild to severe.
Symptoms of TMJ
How do you know if you have TMJ? Many times a dental professional makes the diagnosis.
There are many telltale signs of TMJ including some of the following:
- Headaches and earaches
- Pain in the neck and shoulders
- Trouble opening your mouth wide
- Clicking, popping, or grating sound in the jaw
- A change in the way your teeth fit together
The Common Triggers of TMJ
It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of TMJ, but there are some common causes or combinations of causes.
We all have stress in our lives, but some people who take that stress to bed with them are likely to develop TMJ. If you clench your teeth during the day or grind your teeth at night while sleeping, this is a common cause. The muscles are tensed up especially in the neck and shoulders leading to painful swelling of the joints. Talk with Palm Beach Pain Institute if you have this issue about some medications or devices that can help.
This may seem inconsequential, but in fact it affects the amount of fluid in the body and the hydration all our joints need to function properly. This is an easy fix.
The incidence of poor posture seems to be more prevalent than in the past as we sit at computers all day. It is easy to lean forward too much with your lower jaw taking you out of alignment.
When hormones fluctuate, it affects joint inflammation. This trigger of TMJ especially causes problems for women.
Anyone with TMJ should limit foods that require excessive chewing. Stick to soft foods and take smaller bites.
Other causes or triggers of TMJ include damage to the cartilage from arthritis, and it can occur as the result of a blow to the face or other impact.