November is TMJ Awareness Month, and we would like our patients that suffer from TMJ in Harrisonburg, VA to realize that relief from chronic jaw pain is possible. Many deal with this condition without realizing that it can actually be diagnosed and treated by an oral health professional like Drs. Saunders.
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is a complex hinge joint that connects the skull and the jawbone. This joint is the only one in the body that moves three different ways: side to side, forward and back and up and down. Whenever this joint malfunctions or the associated structures are affected, the diagnosis may be TMJ. The condition is often caused by a misalignment of the neck, the jaw or the supporting structures.
Although the numbers may not fully represent the problem because many cases are undiagnosed, it is believed that at least 1 in every 8 Americans deals with pain from TMJ. Women are more likely to develop TMJ than men.
Causes and Symptoms of TMJ
As with most conditions, TMJ can be caused by a number of things. Some common risk factors include:
· Clenching or grinding the teeth
· Neck, jaw or head misalignment
· Diseases like arthritis
Many suffer from this condition without realizing that they have it and that treatment is available. Some common symptoms of TMJ are:
· Joint popping or locking
· Tenderness or pain in the jaw or cheek
· Difficulty or pain when chewing
· Aching pain around or in the ear
· Chronic headaches
· Facial swelling
· Upper back and neck pain and muscle spasms
· Sharp pain in the face
· Deep ear pain
TMJ can be treated with medications, physical therapy, splints and even surgery if it is diagnosed correctly.
If you are dealing with symptoms associated with TMJ and fear that may be your problem, allow us to help you with a treatment plan that is customized to your situation. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment, and start your journey to a life free from pain.