What is TMJ?
TMJ is short for “temporomandibular joint”. There is one of these joints on each side of your face that attaches your jaw to the bottom of your skull. Sometimes the TMJs get out of line or don’t move as they should. This is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), also known as TMJ disorder. Up to 15 percent of adults, mostly ages 20 to 40, have it. More women than men suffer with TMJ pain. Scientists hypothesize that there may be a link between female hormones and jaw problems. More research is needed to better understand TMJ disorder.
How is TMJ diagnosed?
There is no standard test or tool to diagnose TMJ disorders. Identifying these disorders are difficult because there can be several underlying causes and symptoms. Dentists may suggest x-rays to examine your teeth and jaw. Other imaging such as a CT scan to look at the bones involved in the joint may be recommended. A MRI can reveal problems with the TMJ joint's disc and surrounding soft tissue. However, depending on the severity of the symptoms and pain, advanced imaging may not be recommended. It's important to describe all of your symptoms and conditions that may be contributing to your jaw problems. Facial pain can be caused by other conditions such as sinus or ear infections, headaches and facial neuralgias, which is nerve-related.
What causes TMJ disorder?
It’s not always clear what brings on TMJ disorder. The most common culprits can include:
- Teeth grinding and clenching, puts pressure of the TMJ (joint)
- Cartilage in joint slipping out of place
- Arthritis, which can damage the cartilage in the joint
- Poor posture
- Misalignment of the TMJ (joint)
Teeth grinding and clenching (also called bruxism) can be related to stress, which can cause TMJ headaches, flattened teeth and jaw problems. In addition to stress reduction, your dentist may recommend a night guard. Night guards can stop damage to the teeth but do not stop grinding or clenching, can be uncomfortable to wear and may promote grinding. There are massage therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists who specialize in TMJ pain relief. Short-term use of non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended. However, longterm use can cause side effects such as peptic ulcer disease, renal failure and stroke.
Self-care is essential to TMJ management. Talk to your doctor, dentist or TMJ specialist about jaw exercises and other techniques to keep your face and jaw relaxed. Tjz Balm™ is an OTC night-time topical pain relief medication that soothes the jaw. It is organic and made with seven botanical ingredients that provide effective pain relief, yet can be used on the delicate areas around the jaw, neck and behind the ears.
Will TMJ pain go away?
Often jaw pain and TMJ symptoms will go away with non-invasive treatments as discussed above. In some cases, psychological or behavioral counseling may help reduce stress, if stress is an underlying cause. Otherwise, holistic treatment approaches have shown to be effective for longterm management of TMJ symptoms.
TJz Balm™ is an organic OTC topical pain relief drug that relaxes muscles and joints + moisturizes and soothes the jaw.