Friday, July 26, 2013

How Do I Know If I Have TMJD?

Approximately 25% of the U.S. population has some variation of TMJ disorder. The majority of those are women of childbearing age. Most people who have TMJD go undiagnosed since their symptoms often mimic other conditions (such as migraines). Unfortunately, doctors often provide treatments that only address symptom control and do not correct the problem itself.
The most common symptom of TMJD is pain. The pain often begins as a mild ache in or near the jaw joint, ear, temple area, neck, and shoulders, and worsens over time as the actual structure of the joint can become damaged. Other signs include jaw, neck, and facial muscle stiffness or tension, a limited range of motion or "locking" of the jaw, painful popping or clicking in the jaw joint, ear pressure or pain, hearing problems, dizziness and vision problems.
Chronic moderate to severe headaches are a major symptom of TMJ disorder. Headaches that are focused behind the eyes, near the temples, around the jaw and ears, or at the back of the head in the area of the neck and shoulders are generally TMJ-related, as is generalized severe pain affecting the entire head and/or neck.
Occasional discomfort of the jaw joint or muscles is not uncommon and is not usually cause for alarm. However, severe pain that doesn't go away on its own over time or by treatment with over-the-counter pain relievers should be examined by a doctor. Speak with your doctor or dentist about your symptoms and how they relate to the possibility of TMJD. There is currently no standard test for diagnosing TMJD. A doctor will examine your head, face, neck, and jaw, consider your symptoms, may provide tests to rule out other possible causes, and can provide useful information and advice. A diagnosis may not be possible until every other possibility has been rejected.

Is TMJ Disorder Causing Your Migraine Headaches?

Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with migraine headaches. Often these headaches are caused by a disorder of the jaw joint causing improper jaw alignment. Frequent moderate to severe headache pain occurring more than once a month may be related to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD). Chronic migraine sufferers who have been unable to control their headaches with prescription drugs often find relief from TMJ therapies. Interestingly, several of the symptoms of migraine headaches are also symptoms of TMJD.
TMJ disorders occur due to misalignment of the jaws and teeth. The misalignment leads to intense pain as it causes displacement of the cartilage in the lower jaw and severe pressure on the nerves. Common symptoms of both TMJD and migraine diagnoses include chronic drug-resistant headaches, dizziness, neck pain, sensitivity to light, ringing in the ears, and generalized acute pain and tension of the head, jaw, neck, and shoulders. Some migraine patients have suffered for years and spent incredible amounts of money on MRIs, medications and countless other therapies with no relief. Some easy and inexpensive TMJ treatments often prove helpful in these cases.