TMJ Disorder…What a Pain!

If you have ever suffered jaw pain, you understand how eating an apple could lead to great pain.

I was recently reminded of how excruciating jaw pain can be.  Like so many others I suffer from Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder and have for many years.  One of the causes of this disorder is clenching your jaw.  This is a stress induced issue which can cause terrible pain and damage to your body, especially your teeth.

I have lost two of my lower teeth from clenching over the years.  I recently endured so much pain I couldn’t sleep or talk or work and I finally went to the dentist to find out after three days of visiting three different doctors that I had to have a tooth pulled as my clenching over the years had caused massive damage to the tooth.

As I reflect on this ordeal I realize that I need to start practicing what I preach.  As a massage therapist I have treated countless individuals with TMJD and have counciled them on the importance of taking care of their bodies and learning to relax and learn how to deal with stress.  So you are all my witnesses as I say I am going to start practicing what I preach today and I am going to share some tips with all of you as well.

1 in 4 people suffer from some form of TMJD and most of them don’t even know it, so hopefully my tips will help give some relief to those of you that are in this group.

Symptoms of TMJD

  • Headaches
  • Pain in the jaw, neck and/or upper shoulder
  • Toothaches
  • Hearing problems
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw

How is it diagnosed?

This disorder is difficult to diagnose as it has similar symptoms to many other ailments.  A  dentist or other specialist will usually perform a number of tests to determine if you have TMJD.

What can you do?

  • Perform simple deep breathing exercises to help you relax
  • Practice some form of meditation; morning , midday and before bed
  • Perform yoga on a daily basis
  • Get a massage on a regular basis; 1 time per month is great maintenance.  There is specific massage that can be performed for TMJD, so before scheduling a massage for the jaw pain, ask if the massage therapist knows how to perform TMJ massage.
  • Perform jaw exercises
  • Don’t wait – if you are in a great deal of pain get help immediately

Here are some helpful links:

Good luck and Good health!

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