Temporomandibular Disorder

Let’s take a look at temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

Pain patterns of common headache types

TMD is a problem affecting the muscles and joints between the lower jaw and the base of the skull. Up to 30% of adults will experience TMD at some point in their lives. The condition itself isn’t usually serious, and the symptoms – pain, jaw joint clicking or popping, and difficulties eating – usually resolve in a few months. The Temporomandibular joint is a simple meeting of 2 bones, with a complicated pattern of movements, including both hinging and sliding; the latter of which can easily go wrong as a result of tension in the muscle that controls the sliding of the disc material.

The muscles and movements of the TMJ

You can help your TMD to recover more quickly by reducing the things that aggravate it – so eating softer foods, trying not to yawn too widely, chew gum or resting your chin on your hands. You can also try to relieve any stress that you’re under; give yourself a massage to the muscles of the jaw (from the temple running down to the angle of the jaw line); or try ice or heat therapy to see if that helps.

In more severe cases, your dentist may have you bite on a splint to open up the joint of the jaw to relieve pressure, or a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding; a chiropractor may provide some massage to the muscles inside the mouth; or a massage therapist to those same muscles that you can massage yourself on the outside.

The forces at play in the TMJ


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