6 Home Remedies for TMJ

by Editors of Consumer Guide

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  • TMJ can cause painful headaches along with aching in the face, neck, and shoulders.
    ©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
    TMJ can cause painful headaches
    along with aching in the face,
    neck, and shoulders.

    If you experience frequent headaches, bothersome clicking and popping in the jaw, or pain in the face, neck, or shoulders, the problem may literally be all in your head. You may be suffering from a misalignment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that allows your jaws to open, close, and move sideways.

    The American Dental Association estimates
    that as many as ten million Americans may have what's known in dental circles as TMJ Disorder, or Dysfunction (TMJD), or TMJ Syndrome (TMJS). Unfortunately, it's a condition that often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and untreated.

    Five pairs of muscles and the temporomandibular joints that connect the upper and lower jaws allow you to open and close your mouth and control the forward, backward, and side-to-side movements of the lower jaw. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints from working together may result in the pain and other problems known as TMJD.

    The jaw joints can become misaligned from a variety of causes -- teeth that don't fit together properly due to genetics, orthodontia, or grinding (bruxism); habits such as cradling the phone between the ear and shoulder; or injuries such as whiplash or a blow to the jaw. Stress plays a major role, too, and people often experience their first TMJ discomfort during stressful times.

    Not everyone who has misaligned jaw joints experiences severe symptoms. In some cases, conservative home care can alleviate pain and discomfort. In others, professional help is important.

    Is It TMJ Disorder?
    One unfortunate aspect of TMJD is that it's difficult to diagnose. If you answer yes to more than one or two of the following questions, you may indeed want to further pursue the possibility that TMJD is the cause of your symptoms by consulting a TMJ specialist (see "Find a TMJ Pro" on the next page):
    • Do you have frequent headaches, especially in the morning?

    • Do you clench or grind your teeth?

    • Have you noticed any teeth, especially the eye teeth, wearing down?

    • Do your jaw muscles feel tender?

    • Does your jaw make popping or clicking sounds when you open your mouth?

    • Do you have difficulty opening your mouth?

    • Do you have facial pain? Neck pain? Pain in more than one tooth? Shoulder pain?

    • Is it painful to chew, yawn, or open your mouth widely?

    • Does your jaw ever get stuck open or closed?

    • Do you have pain in or around the ear?

    • Do your ears feel stuffy or itchy?

    • Do you suffer from earaches without ear infections?

    • Do you have ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing in the ears?

    • Do you often feel dizzy?

    The next page is filled with home remedies for coping with your TMJ problem. If the conservative treatments described in this article don't give you relief, seek help from a dentist, preferably one who is a TMJ specialist.

    For more information about TMJ and how to combat it, try the following links:

    This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
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