18 Jun TMJ, The Hidden Pain
Temporomandibular joint disorder or temporomandibular joint syndrome, also known as TMJ, is a common disorder that affects the jaw joint. The temporomandibular joint is what connects your mandible (lower jaw) to your skull (temporal bone), and there is one on each side of your jaw; this is what allows you to yawn, chew, and talk. Comprised of bones, blood vessels, nerves, and muscles, the TMJ is the most complicated joint complex in the body. This is due to its small disc structure, as well as the coordination it takes between the left and right joint in order for the jaw to function and have movement.
Symptoms of TMJ can mimic many other conditions, as well as vary widely between individuals. For instance, one patient may only suffer from jaw pain, while another could experience frequent ear pain; in addition, some individuals can suffer from a complex array of symptoms. However, since the symptoms of TMJ can mimic many other conditions as well, that can make it more difficult to give one a proper diagnosis. An individual with TMJ can suffer from symptoms such as:
- Frequent headaches/migraines
- Chronic facial pain
- Stuffy ears
- Ear pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Hearing loss
- Head, neck, and shoulder pain
- Tooth pain
- Clicking, grinding, popping or locking of the jaw
- Trouble chewing, biting, or swallowing
Intriguing that your jaw can cause so many symptoms isn’t it? This is because the TMJ is a complicated joint, and because of this level of complicated biomechanics, it’s understandable that the TMJ is at a greater risk of malfunction than any other joint complex found in the body. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and believe you might be suffering from TMJ, know that there is help for the pain. A visit to your doctor is recommended in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment.