TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, otherwise known as the jaw joint. These joints are located in front of each ear and the body has a total of two. The TMJ is the joint formed by the temporal bone of the skull (temporo) with the lower jaw or mandible (mandibular). They are the points at which the lower jaw attaches to the base of the skull. By placing your fingers in front of your ears on both sides of your face, you can feel the movement of the lower jaw in the TM Joints. The TM Joint is the most complex joint in the human body, moving each time we chew, talk or even swallow. Unlike the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder or hip, the TM Joint is actually a sliding joint allowing for an infinite range of combined movements. Placed between these two bones is a disc, just like the one between your backbones. This disc is primarily made of cartilage and acts as a cushion to provide protection from bone rubbing against bone.
A malfunction of one or both of these jaw joints can be caused by trauma, whiplash, malocclusion (bad bite), poor posture, teeth grinding or skeletal malformation. Any malfunction prevents the complex system of muscles, bones and joints from working together in harmony. The result is TMJ disorder, also known as TMD. It is estimated that one in every four people suffer from one or more TMJ symptoms. Because TMJ is known as the great imposter it can be difficult to diagnose without the knowledge of how the jaw joints, muscles, and bones work together.
You May Have a TMJ Disorder if You Suffer From Any of the Following Symptoms:
- Chronic, recurring headaches
- Click, pop or grating sound in the jaw joints
- Earaches, congestion or ringing in the ears/Tinnitus
- Limited jaw opening or locking
- Pain when chewing
- Neck and/or throat pain
- Difficulty in closing the teeth together
- Pain behind the eyes
- Scalp tenderness
- Swallowing difficulty
- Inability to get a good night’s sleep
- Blurred vision and eye muscle twitching
Types of Therapy you may receive
- Rehabilitation Orthotic
- Physical Therapy
- Botox Therapy, and/or Trigger-Point Injection Therapy.