Pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be one of the most frustrating conditions to have. It can have you experiencing a headache or pain your jaw, neck, or ear and it can happen without any notice. Your TMJ pain is usually caused by a TMJ disorder which is not only painful but can also feel impossible to treat. But, you can manage this disorder by going slowly.
Keep reading to fully understand TMJ disorders and how to deal with them:
How TMJ Disorders Develop
Your TMJ lets you chew food, form words, and open your mouth to breathe. It is meant to accomplish many movements by rotating in different directions and creating a hinging or gliding movement. But, there are some complex tendons, joint pads, and muscles that help move and protect the TMJ while it’s in motion. This makes it susceptible to having a lot of things go wrong.
The TMJ is one of the most frequently used joints in the body and it can get extremely painful when inflamed, affecting your normal activities. Chronic facial pain, headaches, jaw pain, and earaches can be associated with a TMJ joint disorder.
How to Know you Have a TMJ Disorder
Temporomandibular joint disorders affect a lot of people differently. Many of those who suffer from a TMJ disorder will have to see many doctors for their different symptoms. You might have this disorder if you are suffering any of the following symptoms:
- Migraines or headaches.
- Tenderness and pain around the ears, neck, cheeks, and jaw.
- Clicking, grating, and popping jaw.
- Pain in the ear.
- Locking jaws.
How to Treat a TMJ Disorder
A lot of dentists and doctors will recommend that patients should start with at home treatments for their TMJ disorder. Since the disorder develops in a joint, with muscle and tissues, it is important to treat the disorder the way you would treat any other inflamed joint. At-home treatments for TMJ disorders include:
- Resting the joint. Make sure you consume soft food and avoid chewing gums.
- Applying ice. This is important in the beginning and must be followed by heat packs to reduce muscle inflammation.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines. This can help offer short-term relief.
- Performing muscle relaxation exercises. Your jaw can cramp from too much use. Try to perform simple exercises to correct abnormal jaw positioning and relax tense muscles which can contribute to TMD pain.