Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), also refer as “myofascial pain disorder” is a problem affecting the ‘chewing’ muscles and the joints between the lower jaw and the base of the skull. The jaw joint is located just in front of the ear canal, and it joins the jaw bone (mandible) to the skull near to the temple. The jaw joint is also called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
The symptoms can cause:
- Jaw joint clicking, popping or grating noises as you open or close the mouth.
- Myofascial pain involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function.
- The pain is usually located just in front of the ear, and it may spread to the cheek, the ear itself, and to the temple.
- Difficulty opening the mouth – the jaw may feel tight, as if it is stuck, making eating difficult.
- Headache or migraine.
- * Because the ear is very close to the jaw joint, some people get ear symptoms such as “buzzing” in the ear, sensitivity to sound, blocked sensation in the ear or dizziness (vertigo).
- Pain in other areas of the body – such as neck or back area.
The condition itself is not a serious condition. Most problems in the jaw joint often improves with simple treatments and can respond well to home remedies or stress reduction and relaxation techniques, such as:
- Ice or cold packs to the area of the joint.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).
- Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum.
- Relaxation techniques and stress reduction.
However, these symptoms can significantly lower quality of life, and specialist treatment by oral and maxillofacial specialist might be required if they’re severe.
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