Jaw Joint (TMJ) Disorders

TMJ disorders or temporomandibular joint disorders refer to a group of conditions that affect the jaw joint and surrounding muscles.

Problems with the TMJ can cause pain or difficulty when opening your mouth or using your jaw.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?

A few of the common TMJ symptoms include the following:

  • Pain or dull ache of chewing muscles and joint
  • Radiating pain to the ear and around the neck and face
  • Restricted jaw movement which may cause difficulty eating or even talking
  • Jaw tightness (locking of the jaw) or stiffness of jaw muscles
  • Jaw deviation while jaw movement
  • Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds during jaw movement
  • Sensation of changes in the position of teeth
  • A headache or tingling sensation in the ears

Sleep Apnea

How are Jaw Joint (TMJ) disorders managed?

History and careful clinical examination are necessary to determine the correct diagnosis and provide appropriate therapy.

In most cases, conservative nonsurgical measures are effective. These include:

  • Lifestyle changes such as resting the jaw in the most neutral position and improving the posture of neck and shoulders often help with TMJ issues.
  • Sometimes medications help to relax the muscles or ease pain associated with TMJ disorders.
  • Physical therapy such as massage, physio, acupuncture is also helpful in relieving TMJ symptoms.
  • Occlusal splints are needed at times to prevent excessive loading of joints.
  • Trigger point injections/botox injections are indicated in certain conditions.
  • Psychological treatments such as behavior modification, biofeedback, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy may be indicated in chronic issues.

For severe cases of TMJ, where lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medications and other treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary.

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