Head and jaw pain

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD-TMJ) refers to a range of conditions that affect facial and jaw muscles and joints. TMD can be caused by a range of different medical conditions and factors.

 

Prevalence

The prevalence of TMD is between 5 – 12% and higher among young people. TMD is also at least twice as prevalent in women as men, especially women who take oral contraception and supplemental estrogen.

 

Risk factors

Some of the most common risk factors of TMD include:

 

  • Age: while TMD’s may occur at any age, they are more commonly experienced in women between the ages of 20 and 40
  • Gender: men and women can both suffer from TMD, however women are more likely to experience the symptoms relating to TMD. This is due to the direct correlation between hormones and TMD.

 

Other risk factors of TMD include:

 

  • Jaw or facial deformity
  • Stress
  • Injuries
  • Suffering from other disorders such as arthritis and muscle pain.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of TMD include:

 

  • Pain and tenderness in the face, jaw area, neck, shoulders and around the ear when speaking, chewing and opening the mouth
  • Lock jaw when the mouth is open or closed
  • A swollen face, sometimes on one side
  • Difficulty chewing
  • An uncomfortable bite, for example when the upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly
  • Clicking, grating or popping sounds in the jaw when you open or close your mouth
  • A tired feeling in the face.

 

Causes

We do not know the exact cause of TMD, however factors that can lead to problems with the muscles in your jaw include:

 

  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Stress, which can result in the tightening of muscles in the face and jaw or clench the teeth
  • Poor posture
  • Muscle tension
  • Jaw wound or trauma
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth, which puts pressure on the joint
  • Movement of the soft cushion between the socket and ball of the joint.

 

Find out how Chris treats head and jaw pain and what you can expect in his chiropractic care.

Dr Chris Knee (chiropractor) is the owner and director at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre and Balmain Chiropractic Centre

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