The temporomandibular joint disorder is an affliction of the hinge joint (TMJ) that connects the jaw to the skull. The TM joint facilitates all movements of the jaw and therefore, a TMJ disorder might interfere with the most basic functions like eating and talking. To get timely help for this condition, it is essential to get it diagnosed at an early stage. Thus, recognizing the symptoms of TMJ disorder is the first step towards healing it.
Most of the symptoms are likely to occur on or around the jaw area. If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, there are chances that you will feel discomfort in your head, face, mouth, eyes, ears and even back. Contrary to popular belief, toothache is often a symptom rather than a cause of the TMJ disorder. The most common symptoms of TMJ disorder are clicking or grating noises on opening and closing the mouth. These noises occur when there is a slight dislocation of the jaw bones. They herald the onset of a TMJ disorder and must be paid attention to immediately.
For convenience of understanding, the symptoms can be divided into categories, based on which area they are exhibited. These categories are as follows:
1. Symptoms of the face and neck: These symptoms include pain in the jaw, jaw joint, teeth and in the muscles of the cheek. More complicated symptoms would involve uncontrollable tongue and jaw movements, teeth clenching during sleep and locking of the jaw resulting in the inability to open or close the mouth properly. Frequent coughing, intense salivation and voice moderations are among the lesser diagnosed but highly significant symptoms of TMJ disorder.
2. Symptoms of the Head: Aches in the forehead, migraine attacks and sinus pain are some of the common symptoms that occur in the head. Tinnitus, hearing problems, dizziness and lack of balance, clogged ears and blurred vision are other related symptoms.
3. Symptoms throughout the body: Often the pain and discomfort may spread to other parts of the body. These symptoms would involve soreness in the neck and in the shoulders, stiff neck, pain in the lower back and tingling in the tips of fingers and toes. More chronic symptoms include arthritis, reduced motion of limbs and extremely cold sensation in the hands and legs.
Most TMJ disorder symptoms overlap with symptoms of other health conditions. This is why contacting a dentist never occurs to most people suffering from the symptoms of TMJ disorder. The type and intensity of the symptoms may vary greatly from person to person. It is important to contact a health care practitioner at an early stage. One must at all costs avoid bad habits like bruxism and bad body posture. TMJ disorders are caused due to reasons ranging from mental stress to physical injury. It is best, therefore, to adopt a method of treatment that will be wholesome and multi dimensional.
Holistic treatments seek to treat the root cause of the condition thereby eradicating the problem in its entirety and preventing it from happening further. For instance, developing relaxation routines to bust stress and performing jaw and neck exercises to strengthen the TM joint would help to rejuvenate and sustain the degenerating muscles of the joint. Similarly, eating food rich in minerals and vitamins to invigorate the jaw muscles and combining it with healthy habits such as correct body postures would go a long way in healing the condition and restoring your body to a state of well being.
This article is based on the book, “TMJ No More” by Sandra Carter. Sandra is an author, researcher, nutritionist and health consultant who dedicated her life to creating the ultimate TMJ disorders solution guaranteed to permanently reverse the root cause of TMJ and dramatically improve the overall quality of your life, without the use prescription medication and without any surgical procedures. Learn more by visiting her website: