We have two joints that connect our lower jaw to our skull. And they are known as the temporomandibular joints or TMJ. They are complex. They slide and rotate ahead of every ear. And consists of the lower jaw, the side, and the base in front of our skull. Additionally, temporomandibular joints are located on each side of our face. They help us in doing movements like chewing and speaking. All kinds of dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints are known as temporomandibular joint disorders.
What is temporomandibular joint disorder?
Whenever any function that forestalls the complex system of bones, muscles, and joints from working properly may end in temporomandibular disorder. Smooth muscle actions can take place in our body when our mandibles and joints work properly. For instance, yawning, chewing, talking, and swallowing. And the temporomandibular joint disorder may create several problems for these functions. In simple language, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a disorder of the temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles, and nerves.
The temporomandibular joint disorder may occur when the muscles and ligaments around our jaw become irritated. It is one of the most common issues from the age of 20 to 40. Both men and women can suffer from the temporomandibular joint disorder. This can lead to pain while chewing, clicking, popping the jaw, and so on. However, the temporomandibular joint disorder may be caused by trauma, an improper bite, etc.
A few common symptoms of the temporomandibular joints disorder are-
- Pain in neck and shoulders.
- Pain in the jaw
- Facing difficulty while chewing
- Failed to open your mouth widely
- Swelling on the side of the face
- Tooth pain
- Locking of the jaw
- Ringing in the ears
What causes the temporomandibular joint disorder?
The actual cause of the temporomandibular joint disorder is not clear yet. However, sometimes the prime cause might be an excessive strain on the jaw joints. In addition to that, trauma to the head, jaw, or neck can also cause TMJ. Similarly, irritable bowel syndrome may also overlap with and also worsen the pain during temporomandibular joint disorder. Injury to your jaw, joint, muscles of your head, and neck can also become the reason for TMD. Stress can also tighten facial and jaw muscles. And this may lead to temporomandibular joint disorder as well.
Are home remedies effective for temporomandibular joint disorder?
In some cases, the temporomandibular joint disorder goes away without any treatment. However, there are many medications, therapies, and other treatments available for temporomandibular joint disorder. A doctor diagnoses this disorder after taking the patient’s medical history. There is a physical exam to find what caused the symptoms. However, there is not one specific test for diagnosing TMJ syndrome.
Meanwhile, many symptoms of TMJ disorders can also give well responses to home remedies. These natural remedies mean no risk and harm and can provide you with great relief from the pain. Some effective home remedies are-
- Avoid chewing gum and make a habit of eating soft food. Eating mashed potatoes and applesauce can help in decreasing jaw pain. Meanwhile, eating chewy foods like chewing gum can create more symptoms for temporomandibular joint disorder.
- Putting ice or heat packs in the area of the joints also helps in getting relief. One can put heat packs or ice packs on their jaw. This process will help your jaw relax and get rid of the pain. The doctor will help with all the details like how long to leave the pack on.
- Doing jaw exercises and other face exercises also help in curing the pain. Massage the jaw and neck muscles. The doctor or the therapist will show you how to do jaw exercise in the right way.
- Use lavender, clary sage, chamomile oil to get temporary relief from the pain.
Treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder
If you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, you must visit a doctor. There are many treatments available for TMJ disorder. For instance, simple self-care practices to injections and open surgery. However, according to most experts, surgery should be the last option and the treatment should begin with non-surgical therapy. The non-surgical treatment includes applying heat and cold packs, eating soft food, etc that we have mentioned before. However, if one does not become successful after these home remedies, there are several other options to go for. Among those, radio wave therapy, ultrasound, trigger-point injections, etc are proven to be effective for temporomandibular disorder. Nonetheless, if none of these work then only one needs to consider going for surgery. Arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open joint are the three types of surgery available for temporomandibular joint disorder. Professional consultation is essential for treatment for temporomandibular disorder. Also read: A Guide to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
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