What causes TMJ?
One of the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions is TMJ disorder or Temporomandibular joint disorder. This condition can cause severe side effects, including jaw pain, headaches, back pain, difficulty chewing or biting, ringing in the ears, ear pain, and more. Thankfully, more is being discovered about the causes which are leading to more effective treatment methods.
Why the Disorder Happens
Temporomandibular joint disorder can occur for several different reasons. First, you should understand that even though the joint is located in your face and controls the movement of your mouth, it does not function much differently than the other joints in your body. There are ligaments attached and a disk in place to prevent pain from friction as the bones rub against one another. There are muscles connected to the joints and a major nerve known as the trigeminal which runs into the area. Problems related to any of these parts can cause TMJ headaches or TMJ numbness.
For example, sometimes the disk may erode over time from excessive friction or it will be knocked out of alignment by an injury or repetitive movements. In other cases, the cartilage associated with the joint can become damaged. Your own stress-related habits might also be overworking the muscles that control the joint which can lead to inflammation, pain, and those TMJ side effects.
What Causes These Problems?
Although research is still being done on Temporomandibular joint disorder, doctors can point to a few medical or physical problems that can lead to these types of problems. As mentioned above, some stress-related behaviors can also lead to these problems.
Individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia are at greater risk of developing Temporomandibular joint disorder than those who do not. This connection makes some sense because both of these conditions affect the joints of the body. Sadly, the jaw joint is not immune. Some people are born with jaw structure problems or develop these problems thanks to an accident, such as a dislocated jaw.
However, if you are guilty of clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth when you are tense, you may be increasing you risk for developing Temporomandibular joint disorder, as well.
Who is Most at Risk?
The majority of people who have Temporomandibular joint disorder are women between the ages of 30 and 50. Current research suggests 5 to 15% of the population is currently suffering from the condition. Most people don’t even realize they have the problem until it becomes worse and begins causing a serious interference with their lives. For example, they may have mild jaw pain that ends up getting so bad they can’t eat without being in pain or the ear ache they can control with aspirin might develop into a persistent ringing that nearly drives them crazy.
How to Fight Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Consulting someone who understands TMJ physical therapy is critical for the proper treatment of the condition. These causes are not ones that can be fixed by self-help methods. You need the guidance of a professional if you want to end your suffering.