Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome is the name given for a group of disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). These may be characterized by pain, a limitation of jaw opening, locking or a clicking noise at the joint.
Anatomically the TMJ acts like a sliding hinge that connects your jaw (mandible) bi-laterally with your temporal bone in the head. Our TMJ is involved in most of our daily life, for talking, eating, breathing and to express our feelings or emotions.
What are some of the TMJ signs and symptoms?
• Pain in the jaw next to, or in the ear • Popping or clicking of the TMJ • Limited opening of the jaw • Pain on clenching or eating • The jaw deviates while opening or closing • Locking of the jaw • Headaches/ migraines
Treatment is determined by the history and assessment of the specific dysfunction. Manual therapies can be very beneficial in regards to the treatment of TMJ disc displacement, movement disorders in combination with self-stretches and exercise. Due to its underlying neurophysiological mechanism, dry needling can be effective in the treatment of local and myofascial referred pain affecting the TMJ and its associated musculature. Your dentist may recommend a mouth-guard in disorders such as bruxism and jaw clenching.
• Eat soft food • Cut food into smaller pieces • Avoid unilateral chewing • Avoid opening your mouth too wide • Be aware of jaw clenching • Use relaxation techniques
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