(Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome)
Any Way You Spell It --- It's Jaw Pain
The temporomandibular joint is commonly referred to as TMJ. It is the joint
where the jaw joins the skull just forward of the ears. The name comes from
the skull portion of the joint which is in the temporal bone and the jaw portion
which is the mandible.
The TMJ is the most active joint in the body. It is held together by a complex
structure of muscles, tendons and ligaments which help it move up to 2000 times
a day, mostly for eating and talking. The TMJ syndrome includes a variety of
symptoms such as face and neck pain, earaches and headaches which can transform
the simple act of eating a meal into a very painful experience. It is usually
described as a one-sided, moderately severe, dull facial pain that is localized
in an area just forward of the ear.
Some contributing factors are abnormal contracting of the muscles involving
the jaw and the neck due to trauma and the gripping or grinding of the teeth
as a result of emotional stress. Abnormal position of the jaw due to loss of
teeth on one or both sides and excessive thinning of the jaw bone involving
An additionally disturbing symptom of TMJ is a loud clicking or popping noise
while eating or when the mouth is opened wide. Hard to chew foods should be
avoided as well as foods like apples and large sandwiches which require wide
opening of the mouth.
Once the TMJ syndrome has developed, it is usually best treated with chiropractic
spinal manipulation to help establish normal muscle tone between the jaw and
If there are associated dental problems, they should be corrected simultaneously
for maximum, quick response.
If there is a TMJ sufferer in your life. Please suggest that they give us