Did you know that more than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders, which cause pain in the temporomandibular joints? These joints connect the jawbone to the skull. Located at the sides of the head near each ear, the TMJ joints play an essential role in eating, speaking, and making facial expressions. In fact, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most frequently used and complex joints in the entire body.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can develop when one or both of the temporomandibular joints stop functioning properly. The symptoms associated with TMJ disorders will vary from person to person, depending on the unique causes of their discomfort.
This can cause:
Chronic Ear Pain – Because the TMJs are located right next to the ears, TMJ disorder can be an unexpected source of ear pain.
Jaw Joint Pain, Clicking or Popping, Jaw Stiffness – Jaw joint pain is one of the most common complaints. Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds are frequently noticed when a person chews and yawns. Sufferers may also have difficulty opening or closing their mouths due to jaw stiffness.
Headaches – Moderate to severe headaches can be caused by TMJ disorders. Because the jaw joints are not functioning properly, they can strain muscles and ligaments that attach to the skull, and even pinch nerves. Along with headaches, neck and shoulder pain is likely.
Tooth Pain – Patients who routinely clench or grind their teeth may experience tooth pain. When you clinch your teeth, extreme pressure is felt by your teeth and jaw joints, leading to pain.