TMJ Treatment: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments
The temporomandibular joint syndrome is an abnormality in the function of the nerves and jaw muscles caused by inflammation or an injury of the temporomandibular joint. This joint connects the jawbone to the skull, and when injured, could lead to pain when chewing, swelling on the sides of the face, clicking, popping, and cracking sounds from the jaw. This disorder can also result in headaches, bruxism, eustachian tube dysfunction, or dislocation of the temporomandibular joint.
Causes Of TMJ Disorder
Medical researchers have not been able to determine the cause of TMJ disorder. Nevertheless, several factors could contribute to the tightness of the TMJ, which causes the disorder. These are some of the reasons: bruxism (teeth grinding), stress, excessive chewing, orthodontic braces, poor posture, and musculoskeletal disease like arthritis.
Signs And Symptoms Of TMJ
These are the common signs and symptoms associated with the TMJ disorder: popping and clicking sound of the crepitus, toothache, pain and tenderness of the jaw, migraines, blurred vision, muscle spasms in the jaw, tightness or stiff jaw muscles, cracking sounds in the ear or earache, pain in the mouth, face or cheek difficulty in chewing, pain in the shoulder, swelling in the temple area, pain from the tongue base, dizziness, dislocating or locking of the jaw.
The doctor would do a physical examination combined with the patient’s medical history to determine the cause of the symptom. In some cases, an MRI of the temporomandibular joint would be required to ascertain the damage in the cartilage of the jaw joint to rule out any other medical problem that the doctor is suspecting. This is because trigeminal neuralgia has similar symptoms as the TMJ disorder, like facial pain or neck pain when the nerve that supplies impulses to the TMJ gets irritated. In addition, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, salivary gland disease, and giant cell arthritis have similar symptoms to TMJ disorder.
The Most Common Treatment And Home Remedies For TMJ Pain Relief
Several cases of TMJ disorder have been managed effectively with home remedies and techniques. These are the home remedies that could help relieve TMJ disorder symptoms.
Avoid chewing gums and eat soft foods so as not to stress the jaw.
Apply an ice pack to the area of the joint that is causing the pain.
Avoid or manage stress effectively.
Use a prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory analgesic.
Self-stretching of the jaw and neck muscles as recommended by the therapist or doctor.
These are some medical treatments that can help resolve TMJ disorders when home remedies fail. The doctor may also prescribe medical marijuana to help with the pain if the patient lives in the States where it is legalized. The therapist or doctor could help the patient with some jaw exercises that could improve muscle flexibility. The doctor usually prescribes a dental appliance or bite guard that the patient will wear to help prevent teeth grinding.
The doctor can also help the patient with some Trigger Point exercises.
The therapist or doctor would also help the patient with behavioral therapy, which could reduce the pain.
In more severe cases, surgery could be required to treat the TMJ disorder.
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