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TMD or Jaw Pain

TMD & Jaw Pain

 

What is TMD?

TMD (Temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction) describes a variety of conditions which affect the jaw joints (TMJ) and muscles.  Problems may occur on one or both sides. It is very common and many people have some sign of TMD but only a small number suffer pain.

What causes TMD?

We do not know exactly what causes TMD.  For years dentist thought that TMD was caused by the way the jaws and teeth lined up.  However, research has shown that misalignment of the jaw and teeth is not a major cause of TMD.  Today we believe that TMD is caused by many things acting together, some of which may have little of nothing to do with your teeth.  Most discomfort is from overuse of the joints and muscles.

There are many ways this can occur:

  • Poor Posture. A forward head posture and rounded shoulders changes the way the TMJ functions and over time can create a problem.
  • Clenchingthe teeth together. This may be brought on when you are concentrating or extra busy, worried annoyed or even by cold winds.
  • Grindingthe teeth together. This often occurs at night but can also occur during the day.
  • Strainingthe joints and muscles by for example chewing pencils, biting nails or holding the telephone between your neck and shoulder.
  • Overworkingthe muscles by constant chewing, e.g. chewing gum.

What problems may I experience?

  • Jaw pain or soreness that may be worse either on waking or in the evening.
  • Jaw pain when biting, chewing or yawning.
  • Clicking from the joint when moving your jaw.
  • Stiffness or locking of the jaw joint.
  • Earache without an infection.
  • Difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Neck pain.

What can you do?

You are the key – without your help the treatment will not be as effective.

It’s been our experience that TMD responds well with spinal joint manipulation, jaw adjustments and massage.

  • Keep your teeth apart. The proper resting position for your jaw is with the teeth slightly apart and your tongue resting gently on the floor of the mouth.  This allows your jaw joints and muscles time to rest and heal.  Your teeth should only touch during chewing, swallowing and sometimes speaking.
  • Avoid opening your mouth wide.
  • Avoid habits like chewing finger nails or gum.
  • Avoid straining your neck and shoulders by poor posture.
  • Eat nutritious meals that do not require hard or prolonged chewing.
  • Avoid caffeine and smoking. Both of these are stimulants which excite the nerves of your body.  If you are having pain, any stimulants can make the pain seem worse and increase muscle fatigue.
  • Follow the personal treatment programme prescribed to you by your practitioner.
  • Try to give yourself 10-15 minutes each day to relax.

TMD Exercises

The following are a series of exercises designed to assist the range of motion of the TMJ. As these exercises attempt to break adhesions, it is quite normal for the jaw to make sounds and feel a bit sore.

Perform each exercise 4 times for 30 seconds, at least 4 times daily.

  1. Max Opening

Open your mouth as wide as possible, then place your hand on your chin and press to increase opening. You may feel a pull. Hold for 30 seconds, then release.
Repeat 4 times each session, with 4 sessions per day.

  1. Left Lateral Movement

Slide your jaw as far to the left as you can, then place your right hand against your jaw and apply pressure to assist leftwards motion. You may feel a pull. Hold for 30 seconds, then release.
Repeat 4 times each session, with 4 sessions per day.

  1. Right Lateral Movement

Slide your jaw as far to the right as you can, then place your left hand against your jaw and apply pressure to assist rightwards motion. You may feel a pull. Hold for 30 seconds, then release.
Repeat 4 times each session, with 4 sessions per day.

Remember – be patient – most TMD problems have developed over years and therefore take time to resolve, so adhere to the advice of your practitioner to get the best result in the quickest time.

 If you are having trouble with Jaw Pain and cannot seem to find a cure, please ring us directly on 0191 565 8886 for further information and guidance.

The information provided is for general guidance only and must not be used for diagnosis or treatment of a health problem. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

 

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