Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)

This condition can deliver pain to the joint, just in front of the ear or even present just like an ear ache. It can also be present as pain in the facial jaw and head muscles, usually just on one side.  Sometimes multiple teeth on that side will be painful.  It is most common in age between 20 and 40 and more common in ladies than men.  Many consider it a psychogenic disorder, others consider it a functional disorder.

After many years in practice observing this condition quite frequently, it appears to affect people most when they are under more stress than usual.  This stress often can be caused by events such as having a loved one unwell, moving home, more work load at work, work related politics, relationship issues, getting married, or a new baby coming.  People at this time often appear to be bruxing their teeth more than usual, so some of their teeth may be aching as well (see section on Bruxism).

It does not mean that one isn’t coping with life’s events, it is just something that we as people living in an uncertain world tend to do in response these major types of stress.  Just being informed that these type of events can cause this is sometimes enough for a person to self adjust their thought processes to reverse these symptoms.  If they were subconsciously bruxing their teeth through the day, they will now consciously reduce the amount of bruxism.

If there are tender muscles, teeth or joint and ear pain, the taking of  two Neurofen three  times per day  for three to four days will sometimes settle it. Neurofen is fine to take provided one does not have asthma, stomach ulcers or is on blood thinners such as aspirin or warfarin.

Sometimes a consultation with a good osteopath is advised, if a person with TMD also has a history of back, neck and shoulder pain.We refer to James Phillips of Marque Health at East Ryde  and the City.He can be contacted on 0417674383.

A pelvis which is unbalanced can cause one leg to become shorter than the other. To compensate for this the spine can rotate from its base upwards, resulting in unbalanced joints and changed muscle lengths all the way up to the vertebrae of the neck and jaw attachments.

Add to this the tension and stress of daily life and joints and muscles can’t compensate enough, so one can start to feel pain.

If of course the symptoms continue a referral to a Temporomandibular  Joint Specialist is often recommended.  One of the things a joint specialist will sometimes recommend to a person is to never open too widely as this can  sprain the joints and its ligaments.  For example, when yawning, eating something thick like a hamburger or even opening to have dental treatment done, always try to go no further than about two thirds of maximum opening width.

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