Updated: Aug 15, 2021
Do you sometimes get a clicking or clunking in your jaw? Does it sometimes lock? Get what feels like a tooth ache, or ear ache but you ain’t got nothing wrong? You might have TMJD (or TMJ Dysfunction!)
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. This is the joint of your jaw to your head.
Dysfunction and pain happens in this area from things like;
-Bruxism (excessively grinding or clenching your teeth)
-Clenching your jaw
-Degeneration or irritation of the disc that articulates the TM joint
-Hyper/Hypomobile TMJ (excessive or limited movement)
Other things such as stress, trauma or damage injuries to your jaw can also lead to TMJ dysfunction.
Symptoms of TMJD can include;
-pain or tenderness of your jaw, specifically the joint
-clicking, popping or grinding when you open/close your mouth (this doesn’t have to be painful)
-having a “locked” or “stuck” jaw
-aching pain in and around your ears or pain that feels like ear aches
-headaches around your ears or Temples.
Good thing is, it’s easy to treat and control if you're quick!
Some soft tissue manipulation and trigger point release in your jaw and facial muscles such as your Masseter – put your hands on your face in a 90’s Macaulay Culkin style, now clench your jaw! Feel that muscle pop up underneath your fingers? Yep, that’s your Masseter!
This bad boy is your numero uno muscle for chewing (or, “Mastication” if you will), biting and most jaw movement, also your el grande culprit for TMJD. Secondary muscles contributing to pain can include Temporalis (responsible for the headache pain referral you can get) and your Medial and Lateral Pterygoids.
Ask your preferred Myo, Osteo or Physio about treatment options!
Things you can do for yourself if you suffer from TMJD include
-self massage and stretching that your practitioner can show you
-using heat in the area
-trying to reduce stress, meditate, just, ya know…. RELAX!!
-eating smaller bites of or softer kinds of food
One more note, probably one of the worst causes of TMJ is the Bruxism. This can be due to the fact it’s sometimes a sub-conscious thing that people don’t know they’re doing for example; a stress thing, or just one of those bad habits. Some people do it at night in their sleep, some kids do it because they’re bored… you get my drift.
Either way if you notice it, try and address it asap! It could save you from some potential face pain!