What Is TMJ Syndrome?
The joint which I am speaking about is the one that lies on each side of the
head. To be specific, it is in front of the ears, and is known as the
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). It is because of the TMJ, that we are able to
move our jaw in order to chew, talk, laugh and yawn. As you keep reading
further, you would come to know about the TMJ syndrome symptoms, what
factors are responsible for causing the condition, and what do doctors do to
What are the Characteristic TMJ Syndrome Symptoms?
TMJ syndrome or let's say temporomandibular joint disorder gives rise to a
number of signs and symptoms, which are prominent enough to be
detected. The first obvious sign that a person may be suffering from the
condition is the occurrence of pain and tenderness in the jaw. There might
be a pain in the facial area, and this might be accompanied by headache.
In most cases, the affected person may not be able to open or close his
mouth. This is known as locking of joint as one of the common TMJ
symptoms. The condition also causes the upper row of teeth to make what is
known as a premature contact with the lower row. So this results in an
uncomfortable bite or an uneven contact.
What are the Causes of TMJ Syndrome?
Factors which have been identified to be causing the temporomandibular
joint to go out of function, include:
The bones which are involved in the working of the
temporomandibular joint, are secured by small shock-absorbing disk,
and are covered with cartilage. Now, if this disk erodes or is caused to
misaligned, then problems may arise in the functioning of the joint,
eventually resulting in the temporomandibular joint (tmj) syndrome.
Medical disorders such as arthritis has a reputation to damage the
cartilage I have mentioned above. This also results in the condition.
An injury like a fall or a blow to the temporomandibular joint, can give
rise to the condition.
Apart from all these causes, there is also one which is related to the
habit of constant chewing or grinding. An action such as this, when
prolonged, can tire muscles which help in stabilizing the joint. And the
direct repercussion to this action is the development of TMJ syndrome.
What is Done for the TMJ Syndrome Treatment?
In general, the symptoms of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) symptoms
may run for a few days, before they show complete disappearance.
Otherwise, the doctor may recommend the use of certain medications to
relief the pain or devices such as a bite guard, to prevent the uneven bite
and grinding of teeth. Surgery is also a TMJ treatment options, however, is
required in rare circumstances. The medications may involve painkillers,
drugs for relaxing the muscles, and corticosteroid shots to prevent
inflammation. Apart from these, even certain antidepressants and a drug
known as botulinum toxin, may be recommended.
Use of bite guard is usually a part of a therapy, which also involves the
cognitive behavioral therapy, for TMJ relief Here, the patient is helped to
manage his stress or other psychological factors which are also believed to
aggravate the symptoms.
TMJ syndrome symptoms can be managed at home with a few self-care
measures. These may include eating soft foods, choosing small pieces of
foods to eat, and abstaining from sticky food. It is also advised to keep
yourself from opening the mouth too wide while yawning, and it is best if you
can avoid chewing gum completely, in case you are prone to the attack of
the TMJ syndrome. Applying warm compresses to the affected area also
helps in providing instant relief from an attack, and so does inculcating
stretching exercises for the jaw muscles.