Have you ever been told you have TMJ? Did it sound terrifying? Turns out everyone has TMJ – 2 in fact. TMJ is the temporomandibular joint and it is most often used to describe what is actually temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) or TMJ syndrome.
TMJ is the joint between the jaw and the skull and we have one on the right and the left side of our faces. It’s responsible for movements that allow us to yawn, take big bites of food, and to chew. Every time we open the mouth the TMJ is moving. It also allows us to shift our jaw side to side like when we chew gum.
There are many muscles that surround the TMJ. One muscle is located above our ears in the region known as the temples. Have you ever had headaches in this region? Do you have headaches in the morning? Or maybe you have headaches at the end of a stressful day at work? If you said yes to any of these questions you may be suffering from TMD.
TMD is pain in the jaw which can be caused by a variety of problems. Common symptoms include clicking or other noises from the jaw, trouble opening the mouth, difficulty eating and sometimes even speaking. About 60% of the population experiences at least one of these problems. However, most people have very mild symptoms and sometimes none at all and thus will not attempt to seek medical care.1
With proper assessment and treatment of TMD we can help you with your pain and get back to things you enjoy like eating that big juicy burger!
- List T, Stenstrom B, Lundstrom I, Dworkin SF. TMD in patients with primary Sjogren syndrome: a comparison with temporomandibular clinic cases and controls. J Orofac Piain. 1999 Winter; 13(1):21-8.
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