TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DYSFUNCTION
Dysfunction within the temporomandibular (jaw) joint on one or both sides.
If you suffer from chronic headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, earaches, or shoulder pain, you could have TMJD. Other common symptoms are:
Clenching and grinding the teeth.
A change in the way the teeth fit together.
Headaches and migraines.
Ear stuffiness or pain.
Radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck.
Restricted range of motion in the jaw including jaw locking, inflammation, trigger points, and joint sounds (clicking, popping, grinding)
Some less common symptoms include tinnitus, nausea, lacrimation (eye watering), sensitive teeth, dizziness, vision problems, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
ABOUT THE JAW JOINT
The joint is located on either side of the head just in front of the ear and is where the lower jaw, called the mandible, attaches to the skull on the temporal bone. The temporomandibular joint and the muscles that surround it are what allow us to talk, yawn, and chew. The TMJ is a combination of a hinge joint and a sliding joint, with intricately interwoven tissues attached to the joint and surrounding structures. Nerves and major pathways for nerves that are responsible for connecting the brain and spinal cord also run through the joint making this area vulnerable to injury. The temporo-mandibular joint is one of the most challenging and complicated joints in the body because so many factors can contribute to dysfunction.
People can be predisposed to developing tmjd due to genetics, improper development of muscles, ligaments, and bones, and experiencing trauma to the face neck and jaw.
The primary causes of tmjd are imbalances in the facial muscles due to over-use habits such as chewing gum or only chewing on one side, malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth), cranial bone misalignment (which affects joint mechanics), any postural dysfunction that affects the position of the head (forward slouching, head/neck extension), direct or indirect trauma, stress levels that lead to clenching or grinding, sinus blockage or infection, and/or joint pathology.