Lifestyles for Better Living

Seven TMJ Symptoms to Look Out For

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

It is not clear what causes TMJ disorders, but dentists believe that these result from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with some parts of the TMJ or temporomandibular joint.

The TMJ is a hinge joint connecting the mandible or the lower jaw and the temporal bone of the skull, which are found on the front of the ears, on the sides of the head. These are flexible joints that let the jaw move up and down and to the sides, which are the movements that we do when we chew, yawn, or talk.

When the jaw muscles are overused, which happens with too much grinding or clenching of the teeth, this can lead to a TMJ disorder. Stress is also one of the factors that lead to TMJ pain. When we experience stress, we tend to clench our teeth or tighten our facial and jaw muscles. Other factors such as injury to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint, or the muscles of the head and the neck, as well as the dislocation of the disc that acts as a cushion between the ball and the socket, may also contribute to TMJ pain.

Here are 7 symptoms for TMJ that you should watch out for:

  1. Headache - One of the more common symptoms for TMJ is headache. About 80% of TMJ patients complain of this. The pain is made even worse when you open or close your jaw or are exposed to the cold, which increases facial pain and muscle contraction.
  2. Ear pain - If you're feeling some pain in front or below the ear, better get yourself checked. In many cases, what may seem like an ear infection can be TMJ.
  3. Sounds - Grinding, crunching, or popping sounds, known as crepitus, are common symptoms for TMJ. Ask a partner or a family member to let you know if they hear you do any of these and see a specialist immediately. Teeth grinding and clenching can wear out the jaw cartilage, which may lead to TMJ.
  4. Dizziness - While dizziness is a symptom for many different ailments-including the fact that you skipped a meal-many TMJ patients report feeling dizzy and imbalanced.
  5. Fullness of the ear - If your ears feel muffled, clogged, or full, it may be a sign that you have TMJ. This feeling of ear fullness and pain is even more noticeable during airplane takeoffs and landings.
  6. Ringing in the ear - Tinnitus, or noise or ringing in the ears, is one of the symptoms for TMJ. This feeling usually goes away when your TMJ is treated.
  7. Eye pain and sensitivity - Many patients observe symptoms such as bloodshot eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, pressure behind the eyes, and pain above, below, and behind the eyes.

While these symptoms may point to ailments other than TMJ, it's always good to be mindful of what your body experiences and seek medical help when you notice anything out of the ordinary. Early diagnosis of your TMJ condition can help your doctor map out a good treatment plan to address these symptoms while they can still be easily cured. This way, you need not suffer for so long.

For more detailed information on TMJ, pick up the new book, ”Secrets To Taming TMJ Pain” for the Nook book at Barns and Noble.

You can also buy the PDF file from Paypal for $6.99.

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