What is TMJ Dysfunction?
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a broad term for a group of painful conditions that affect the jaw joint and the muscles that control the jaw movements. This can occur because of an injury directly to the jaw, arthritis, or para-functional activities. This includes bad habits such as chewing gum, or biting your nails, both of which place unnecessary stress on the jaw.
What Can I do?
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) suggests the following:
- Change your diet to avoid hard, and tough foods. Try to eat only soft foods
- Use ice packs to reduce pain and swelling
- Avoid extreme jaw movements, like wide yawning
- Short-term use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medicines may provide some relief
- Avoid, where possible, surgical treatment for the TMJ
Treatment of the TMJ by specially trained Physical Therapists, and Assistants can greatly reduce the pain experienced with TMJ disorders. Through education, massage and exercise, the muscles can be returned to their relaxed state, the alignment of the jaw can be improved, and swelling reduced.
To set up an appointment today, call (240) 361-9000, Ext. 1.