TMJD - Your jaw ache explained

In previous articles, we’ve emphasized the importance of correct posture. We’ve also discussed the implications of poor posture and how to avoid it...

Today, many of the public are being diagnosed with TMJD, TemproMandibular Joint Disease, or Disorder. So, what actually is this? Simply put, TMJD is a mechanical problem of the two bones that form the joint and the structures within.

The TMJ consists of a joint (J) formed by a protrusion, known as a condyle, in the superior portion of the Mandible (M), which articulates with a depression within the Temporal bone (T). There is also a disk between the two bones of the joint, staying firmly attached to both sides of the Mandible, on one side by a ligament, and the other by a muscle.

This joint is not only involved with chewing or eating, which can create great force, but speaking and swallowing as well. The motions of this joint, other than opening and closing the mouth, moves the lower jaw forward and back, as well as side to side.

One of the more common issues that an individual diagnosed with this disorder is an ache in the jaw, or “clicking” when opening or closing the mouth, as well as headache. In some cases, actual locking of the jaw may occur.

So, what does poor posture have to do with my jaw?

As mentioned previously, (see September 18 2015 posting), the neck, or cervical region of the body, can be put into extreme tension due to what we label as FHP, or forward head posture. Picture the person leaning into their computer screen, or texting on their mobile phone.

The muscles attaching to the lower portion of the Mandible have an effect on the resting position of that bone. With too much tension in those muscles, the jaw can be pulled forward, creating tension and potential misalignment of the TMJ. During this time, the small disk within the joint is pulled forward, again due to muscle tension.

One of the common remedies prescribed by the medical community might be a night guard to help put the jaw into a correct position during sleeping. At times, either, injections into the joint, or in worst cases, surgical intervention may be advised. Though some of these may be needed due to trauma or structural damage, a correction in posture may alleviate the issue.

So, keep in mind those muscles that pull the shoulder blades down and the ones that lift the collar bones, and bring that chin back. When you find that point, relax into it. Relax your jaw. It’s actually easier on your body than slouching into your chair, or the couch. The muscles are more in balance in that position and because of that, more relaxed.

At the Injury Clinic, we are successful in bringing relief too many of those experiencing TMJD. Our approach is subtle, but precise, and knowledge we give our clients allows them to continue with their wellbeing in everyday life.

Diagram from smileessential.co.uk

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