The human body is fascinating with many joints that maintain function and framework. You already know that the hip joint is the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body that allows bending. There’s shoulder joint that allows more range of movement for the arms. If there’s one joint that is often left out, it would be the TMJ.
It is time to know more about TMJ. TMJ is the joint that links jawbone and the skull. If this joint is injured or inflamed, it can result in a localised pain called TMJ syndrome. Basically, TMJ syndrome affects the jaw muscles and nerves because of an injury or inflammation. Here are other things that you need to know about TMJ syndrome:
What causes TMJ?
The truth is the causes of TMJ are not completely understood. This is because of the many factors that can contribute to muscle tightness and dysfunction. Generally, causes may include the misalignment of teeth or jaw, poor posture, stress, anxiety, teeth grinding, excessive gum chewing, orthodontic braces, and arthritis.
What are the symptoms to watch out?
The main symptom is a pain in the jaw joint. Since the joint is located in front of the ear, the pain may radiate to the forehead, ear, neck, eyes, and face. Other symptoms include clicking of the jaw, pain masking like a toothache, popping sounds, stiff neck muscles, muscle spasms, difficulty chewing, dizziness or vertigo, shoulder pain at times and locking of the jaw after yawning.
How do professionals diagnose TMJ syndrome?
There is no particular test that can diagnose TMJ syndrome but the doctor can start with a physical exam or noting your medical history. Your physician may also send you to an ENT specialist or dentist to confirm the diagnosis. If the doctor suspects damage to the cartilage of the jaw joint, an MRI may be ordered.
What are the treatments?
The good news is that most symptoms of TMJ syndrome respond well to home remedies. Home remedies include putting cold packs to the affected area of the joint, taking over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, and acetaminophen and eating soft foods. You should also avoid chewing gums and try massaging the jaw and neck muscles.
If the pain persists, it is time to consider tmj treatment nyc. Most of the treatments cannot cure TMJ but it can provide temporary relief from pain. Treatments include dental splint, botox, physical therapy, and trigger point acupuncture. In severe cases, a surgery may be needed.
How to prevent TMJ syndrome?
Prevention is always better than cure. With TMJ syndrome, prevention includes eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum, considering stress reduction techniques, using dental splint (as recommended), maintaining proper posture and using the right equipment to prevent jaw fractures.
All these means that the prognosis for TMJ syndrome is good because it can be managed with home remedies and self-care. It is crucial that you see the doctor at the onset. Do not make it worse because it can lead to serious problem in the future if left untreated.