The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the hinge that joins the jawbone to the skull. When pain is felt in this joint it is known as TMJ Syndrome or TMD (temporomandibular disorder). This can affect the movement so the jaw and so affect chewing.
Sometimes people experiencing pain with the TMJ may also grind their teeth, although you can habitually grind your teeth and not have TMJ syndrome.
The symptoms of TMJ Syndrome include:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw
- Aching pain in and around the ear
- Pain or difficulty chewing
- Facial Pain
- Locking or popping of the joint
TMJ Syndrome can occur when:
- The disc at the joint erodes or moves out of alignment.
- Arthritis in the jaw which damages the joints cartilage
- Injury or impact to the jaw
- Stress causing tightness of the muscles of the TMJ
There are exercises that can be done to help relieve the pain. Also, painkillers can be taken.
TMJ Syndrome has been identified as a Neurophysiological Disorder which shows that it can be caused by stress or other forms of negative thought patterns. Where this is the case, we at The Hannon Clinic can work with you to teach you the techniques to effectively deal with the stress and undertake some gentle physical therapy to relieve the jaw.
In extreme cases, surgery may be required to release or repair the joint.