Have you been experiencing frequent headaches, back and neck pain, dull aching facial pain, or popping in your jaw? Well, so have a number of our clients and we want you to know that you are not alone. Many of these symptoms may be related to a Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). These disorders involve the jaw muscles and/or the jaw joint known as the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ).
Your TMJ is a hinge that connects your jaw to the bones on the side of your skull, which are in front of each ear. Today, we will share with you common factors associated with TMD, common symptoms, and simple things that you can do at home. Lets start with the cause.
The cause of TMD may not be fully clear, but there are many factors that are associated with it. For example,
* Direct trauma
* Indirect trauma – whiplash, neck injury
* Stress and emotional strain
* Poor posture
* Clenching/grinding of teeth
* Myofascial restrictions throughout the body
* Rotation in the pelvis
* Tooth loss or misalignment of the teeth
* Chewing gum or biting nails
Even though there may not be one single cause for TMD the symptoms are similar for our clients. Clicking or popping noises, locking or grating sensations, pain or stiffness in and around the jaw and TMJ can all be symptoms of TMD. Many people also experience headaches, neck pain, or earaches. The whole-body approach of myofascial release (MFR) can be very effective in helping to rebalance the neck, jaw, and head in order to reduce and eliminate symptoms associated with TMD.
If you are suffering with TMD here are some simple things that you can do at home to help reduce your symptoms.
* Avoid extreme jaw movements
* Eat soft foods
* Use ice or moist heat
* Avoid excessive chewing (gum, etc)
* Release myofascial restrictions (soft tissue work, MFR self-care)
TMD, like many other symptomatic complexes, can often have several different factors that contribute to its development. Myofascial Release (MFR), is highly effective method of addressing multiple contributing factors to relieve these symptoms and restore full function.
If you suffer from jaw, head or neck problems and would like to learn ways to help release tension, check out our helpful self-care techniques in the self-treatment section of our Resource Center.
Click here for a TMD Joint Stretch.
Click here for an anterior chest stretch (also try on the foam roller or pool noodle).