Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) occurs as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control movement of the jaw. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the bone of the skull. This joint is located immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head. The muscles attached to the jaw allow the jaw an incredible amount of movement: front side to side and up and down. This flexibility allows us to chew, talk, and yawn.
What is TMJ?
Those who suffer from TMJ experience severe pain and discomfort. This pain can last for as many as several years or a few months. More women experience TMJ pain than men and the disorder is seen in people between 20-40 years of age.
Some symptoms of TMJ include:
- Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or yawn
- Limited ability to open the mouth wide
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open-or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the joint when the mouth is opened or closed
- Tired feeling in the face or neck
- Difficulty chewing
- Sudden uncomfortable feeling when biting
- Swelling on the side of the face
- Headaches or neck aches
- Hearing problems
- Upper shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears