Your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is essentially the jaw joint. If you are one of approximately 10 million Americans who suffer from the associated joint and muscle disorders (TMD or TMJD, but often miscalled TMJ), you probably spend a lot of time in pain. While this isn’t a sign of a serious medical problem, that does not diminish the pain.
So do you know if you are suffering from TMJ? What type of pain does it cause? What are the symptoms?
So Much Pain
The main symptom is pain. While sometimes it may feel like a dull ache in the jaw joint, it does affect more than just the actual TMJ bones and muscles. If the pain radiates out from the TMJ and down into the face, jaw, and neck, it is a good sign that you have a TMJ disorder. It will also hurt when you chew, yawn, or generally exercise your jaw.
But the pain doesn’t necessarily stop there. Although you may already think that is enough, TMJ disorders can cause the pain to extend to the ear. Often people with TMJ disorders think that they have an ear problem, as their inner ears will hurt.
If your jaw has become stiffer over the past little while it could also be a symptom of TMJ. In addition, the joint itself will lock or freeze up. Your movement will be very limited. When you can move your jaw, there will often be weird sounds and movements, like popping, grating, and clicking. This might be painful or it might just be obnoxious, but either way it is not something you want happening constantly.
If you think you might have a TMJ disorder, pay attention to the way your teeth fit together. Is it different than it was before? TMJ can seriously affect the alignment of your teeth and jaw, which can lead to more serious problems.
Talk to your doctor or dentist if you think you might be suffering from TMJ. They will be able to help you treat the pain and exercise your jaw.