The jaw is primarily a muscular joint and the muscles attach to the temporal bone (the small skull bone above the ear) and the mandible (jawbone). The joint the mandible inserts into is the Temporal Mandibular Joint and a disc in this joint cushions movement of the jaw.
Since the muscles in the jaw are what move the joint through chewing, talking, and other activities, pain syndromes can develop when these muscles dysfunction and cause the Temporal Mandibular Joint to become irritated. Although there are many theories about how most T.M.J. syndromes occur (trauma, grinding teeth, malocclusion syndromes, too much hard chewing, stress), there is little real scientific consensus on how the syndrome occurs, and even less on how to treat it effectively. Most of these syndromes develop over time with the onset of symptoms, often years after the actual dysfunction began. The joint is controlled primarily by muscles, and the syndrome is often a secondary effect of muscular dysfunction.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ:
- Neck Pain.
- Headaches which wake you out of your sleep or are present when you awake in the morning.
- Jaw soreness, especially in the morning.
- Jaw locking at times.
- Headaches lasting for days.
- Upper neck stiffness or kinking sensation.
- Jaw cracks upon opening or during eating.
T.M.J. has been treated with numerous methods with varying degrees of success. Some treatment were from dentists, others by surgeons, and some by chiropractic adjustments.