The TMJ connects the lower jaw bone called the mandible to a part of your skull called the temporal bone. This joint is located bilaterally just in front of the ears.
When muscles or ligaments around the TMJ are inflamed or irritated, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can occur, such as TMJ disorder. Currently, a prevalence of 31% of American adults have TMD, the majority being women. TMD can be divided into several categories: joint and disc disorders, masticatory (chewing) muscle disorders, and headaches.
Arthritis, disc dislocation at the TMJ (lower jaw), bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), an improper bite, stress, trauma, genetics, and a combination of these can contribute to the neck and jaw pain commonly found in TMD.
In addition to neck and jaw pain, other symptoms of TMD can include earaches, jaw clicking, popping, locking, headaches, and more. The treatment for TMD can consist of more conservative techniques such as rest, exercise, eating soft foods, physical therapy, and using ice/hot packs.
Furthermore, injections such as Botulinum Toxin (Botox) and pain medications can be used. If non-surgical techniques are not relieving the patient’s pain or symptoms, non-conservative measures like surgery can be discussed between the physician and the patient as a treatment option.
If you are experiencing neck or jaw pain, contact us today at OrthoNeuro! Our expert physicians will accurately diagnose the source of your pain and create a treatment plan that is specific to you.