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Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder (TMD): Definition, Function, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment


What is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?

One of the most frequently used joints in the human body is the temporomandibular joint, commonly abbreviated as TMJ. This joint is located on both sides of the face in front of the ears, where the lower jaw bone (called the mandible) meets the skull at the temporal bones. 

Function of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

It facilitates chewing, talking, yawning, and making facial expressions; essentially anything that involves opening and closing the mouth, which can occur up to 2,000 times per day! Studies have found that more than 25% of the population suffers from some kind of TMJ disorder or pain around the jaw leading to a dysfunction in jaw movement. When untreated, TMJ disorder can lead to headaches, migraines, neck pain, and back pain. 

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include: 

  1. Difficulty or pain with chewing, talking, or yawning
  2. Headaches
  3. Neck pain
  4. Alteration in bite (the way the top and bottom teeth come together)
  5. Conscious or subconscious clenching or grinding of the teeth
  6. Clicking, locking, or popping sensations when opening or closing the jaw
  7. Pain or ringing in the ears (Tennitis) or a sensation of fullness in the ears
  8. Restricted ability to open the mouth
  9. Pain or tenderness around the face, jaw joint, neck, or ears, especially when chewing, talking or opening the mouth

Causes of TMJ Disorder

Some causes or aggrevators of TMJ disorder include:

  1. Traumatic injury to the jaw, TMJ, associated muscles, head, or neck
  2. Myofascial restriction in one of the jaw muscles, such as the masseter, that causes pain when the jaw moves
  3. Any disruption of the joint due to jaw dislocation, displaced disc, or condyl injury
  4. Arthritis of the TMJ
  5. Stress that creates extra tension in jaw and facial muscles
  6. Any dental procedure that changes one’s bite (orthodonture, dental surgeries, etc)

Treatment for TMJ Disorder

ASTR is a gentle manual therapy specialty that excels in treating TMJ pain and achieves long-term results because it targets the source of the pain without medication, surgical interventions, or additional pain. ASTR treatment can be done for TMJ disorder

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder Home Treatment

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