What is TMJ Syndrome?

TMJ_1FOCUS ON PAIN:  HOW MASSAGE HELPS WHEN YOUR JAW ISN’T WORKING

Tempromandi What?

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint.  Web MD describes the TMJ as “a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.”

Your TMJ is one of the parts of the body most people never even think about, even thought they use it constantly throughout the day.  Few would be able to name it and even if they’ve heard of it, they’re not sure what it is or what it does.  Since the TMJ is not well-known, when there is a problem, it is easy to think there is some other cause.

Symptoms like an ear ache could be perceived as an ear infection, signaling a visit to your doctor.  Pain while chewing could send someone directly to the dentist.  However, both of these are important signals there could be a problem with your TMJ and a medical massage practitioner would be the best person to see.  Other symptoms listed by the Mayo Clinic include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • A clicking noise when the jaw is opened or closed

WebMD warns, “You may also have toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears.”

What Causes a TMJ Disorder?

While no one is sure exactly what causes the TMJ Syndrome, many possibilities are cited by WebMD and the Mayo Clinic.

  • Symptoms can arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself
  • Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck — like from a heavy blow or whiplash
  • Long term grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
  • Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Arthritis, rhumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the joint or cartilage
  • Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
  • Erosion of the disk
  • Certain connective tissue diseases can cause problems which may affect the temporomandibular joint

What You Can Do About TMJ Disorder?

The  masseter muscle, seen in the illustration above is the primary muscle used for the activities which affect your TMJ.  When a Medical Massage Practitioner, like Dwight Lee Tinney finds a restriction or stress on this muscle through palpation, massage is usually the best way to tackle the related symptoms.  When the stress or restriction is released, then the pressure is taken off the TMJ.

Massage is also good for all kinds of stress, so if a situation in your life is causing you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth, there are massage techniques which can help alleviate that stress to go along with treatment for TMJ Disorder.  Tension headaches could be irradiated in this manner.

Sometimes other therapies are needed in conjunction with massage, like therapeutic exercises.  Because he is also a Certified Physical Trainer with a specialization in corrective exercises, he can develop a routine to help you battle your TMJ syndrome.

So next time your ear or tooth aches, don’t automatically assume you need to go to a doctor or a dentist.  Give DFW Medical Massage a call.  Dwight might have a better solution than another antibiotic or a visit to the dentist.

 

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