TMJ Symptoms

TMJ Symptoms: Why Initial Diagnosis Is Crucial To Your Health

In order to identify Temporomandibular Joint Disorder symptoms or TMJ symptoms, it may be necessary to comprehend the anatomy of this complex joint – how it works under normal circumstances and what happens when something goes wrong with it. To start with, the TMJ or the temporomandibular joint is located where the lower jaw bone or the mandible joins the skull in a hinge-like formation, its primary objective being the opening and closing of the mouth.


However, contrary to popular belief, this joint does not only works like a hinge as in a door or a in a window, which opens and closes unilaterally. There is also a secondary movement of sliding slightly forward and this act facilitates the full opening of the mouth. As a matter of fact, even though the first phase of the jaw opening phenomenon is akin to a hinge-like operation that covers around one third of the opening of the mouth, two third of it is achieved with the help of that sliding action.


Now, the bony joint alone could not perform all these actions unless it was assisted in its performance by cartilages and muscles located around it. Especially, a cartilage called the ‘articular disk that is to be found between the top of the mandibular bone and the roof of the joint which provides help to the TMJ. Physiologically, the back end of the articular disk is controlled by a rubber band-like ligament called the retrodiscal ligament while the operation of its front end is regulated by a muscle called the lateral pterygoid muscle. Any damage caused to these will give rise to TMJ symptoms that are described below. Symptoms of TMJ disorders also arise due to various other reasons which are summarized as under.


Unusual Symptoms of TMJ


Apart from the primary symptoms associated with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder that include pain in the joint movement, intermittent locking episodes, clicking, crunching, snapping noise during joint movement, there are quite a good many secondary symptoms that are listed here.


Symptoms relating to the eyes


  1. Bloodshot eyes
  2. Pain in the eye – behind, below and above the eye
  3. Blurred vision
  4. Sensitivity to light
  5. Feeling of pressure behind the eyes
  6. Unusual watering in the eyes


Symptoms relating to the ears


  1. Loss of hearing
  2. Pain in the ear for no apparent reason
  3. Feeling of fullness in the ear
  4. Ringing, roaring, hissing sounds in the ear mimicking tinnitus
  5. ‘Stuffy’ or clogged ear
  6. Vertigo, dizziness and balancing problem


Symptoms relating to the head and face


  1. Forehead pain
  2. Migraines
  3. Cluster headache
  4. Headache (Sinus type)
  5. Hair, scalp and related area painful and sensitive to touch


Symptoms relating to the face, mouth, cheek and chin


  1. Uneasiness or pain to any of these areas
  2. Pain in chin and cheek areas
  3. Pain in jaw and jaw joint
  4. Clicking noise in jaw opening
  5. Restricted jaw opening
  6. Tongue movements disorderly
  7. Uneven opening of jaws
  8. Uneven bite (one side more, other side less)


Symptoms relating to the teeth and gums


  1. Painful teeth
  2. Clenching
  3. Grinding teeth more often (bruxism)
  4. Gums sensitive to touch
  5. Difficulty in brushing


Symptoms relating to the throat


  1. Difficulty in swallowing
  2. Feeling of tightness in throat
  3. Sore throat but no infection
  4. Voice variation (uncontrollable)
  5. Chronic Laryngitis


Symptoms relating to the neck and shoulder


  1. Painful neck muscles
  2. Aching shoulders
  3. Back pain (both upper and lower)
  4. Stiffness in the area


Even though these secondary symptoms are usually associated with Temporomandibular Joint problems, it need not necessarily mean that these will be manifest in each and every person. TMJ Symptoms vary from person to person, are dependant on constitution, age, sex and other factors.


The above listing gives a comprehensive indication of probable symptoms that a person may or may not display when he/she has become a victim of the TMJ disorder. Do please remember that some of the TMJ symptoms are similar to those displayed by persons who suffer from Tinnitus. However, there is no incongruity in the mater since tinnitus patients also suffer from Temporomandibular Headache while TMJ patients are often affected with ringing tones in their ears. The crux of the matter however is in the fact that TMJ and Tinnitus are more akin to each other where the earlier theory of stress being the root cause of all problem has been replaced with more positive causative factors like bones, ligaments, nerves, etc that serve the middle ear as well as the TMJ.


TMJ Treatment


Everyone wants TMJ relief and so treatment becomes a necessity. But the problem is over the counter medications and conventional remedies fail to solve the problem. Yes, it may seem that the TMJ symptoms are gone, but since the real cause that causes these symptoms remain (conventional remedies just treats the symptoms and not the causes), they often come back soon enough.


A holistic remedy on the other hand, treats the body as a whole and identifies all of the contributing factors and then treats them. And thus, once the root causes are eradicated, the TMJ symptoms also go away, never to return again.

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