Information And Treatment
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is characterized by pain that affects the jaw, including the joints, tissues and muscles. TMJ can be localized to one joint or both, and can result in limited jaw movements and the ability to speak, eat, chew, swallow, breathe and make facial expressions. Consequent symptoms include chronic headaches, lockjaw, clicking or grating, and ear pain or pressure.
There are approximately 35 million people in the United States alone, both women and men, who suffer from TMJ and related disorders. TMJ can be caused by infections, jaw injury, dental procedures and arthritis, however genetic, hormonal and environmental factors may also play a role in the onset of the condition.
Whether the symptoms are mild or severe, TMJ can be mitigated through a variety of self-care practices. Individuals with TMJ are encouraged to avoid hard or tough foods and gum, apply ice or heat and to abstain from moving the jaw in an extreme manner. Many pain management programs also suggest the use of several complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments. Acupuncture, for example, may be able to provide temporary pain relief, according to a study published in March 2012. Massage is another service that falls under the CAM umbrella that has been shown to alleviate discomfort in the short-term.