TMJ – temporomandibular joint – is a hinge connecting the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. The temporal bones are in front of each ear. This joint – TMJ – moves the jaw up and down – as well as from side to side – for talking, chewing, yawning, and other facial expression.
TMD – temporomandibular disorders – are problems with the jaw and the face muscles controlling the TMJ.
- TMD is frequently referred to as TMJ
- TMJ is the joint
- TMD is the problem
When the TMJ fails to facilitate motion of the jaw, the ligaments holding the temporal bones are damaged. This causes disorders resulting in the dislocation of the cartilage disc in between the temporal bones – the TMD – resulting in an uneven movement of the lower jaw and pain of the joint – the TMJ.
TMJ – TMD Symptoms
Disorders with the TMJ cause pain to the:
TMD causes severe pain and discomfort – temporary – or lasting years. It can affect one or both sides of the face. Typically, more women than men suffer from TMD, and it afflicts people between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Difficulty opening mouth wide
- Stuck or locked jaws in open- or close-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw when opening mouth or chewing – with or without pain
- A feeling of tiredness in the face
- Trouble chewing – sudden uncomfortable bite when the upper and lower teeth do not come together properly
- Swelling on the side of the face
Other Symptoms of Pain and Discomfort from TMJ
- Toothaches or teeth sensitivity
- Neck aches
- Hearing problems
- Upper shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears – tinnitus
TMJ – TMD Causes
Trauma – from a heavy blow to the face or whiplash in a car accident – is the most common cause of disorders to the TMJ.
- Grinding teeth excessively – Bruxism
- Clenching teeth
- Tightened facial and jaw muscles due to stress
- Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the TMJ
- Arthritis in the TMJ
According to Dr. Brian Kessler – Medical Director of Spine and Sports Medicine – TMJ problems can arise as a result of:
- Orthodontics – Braces causing TMJ pain due to the irregular arrangement of the teeth when the jaws are closed (malocclusion)
- Ligament Laxity – The ligaments around the TMJ are loose and normal movement of the jaw is disrupted
TMJ – TMD Treatment
The Multidisciplinary Team at Spine and Sports Medicine designs individualized programs including learning and practicing techniques to regain normal jaw movement.
TMJ – TMD Physical Therapy programs are focused on:
- Release muscle tightness
- Dissolving scar tissue
Specialized TMJ-TMD Physical Therapy at Spine and Sports Medicine encompasses:
- High Tech – High Touch jaw exercises
- Heat therapy to improve blood circulation in the jaw
- Ice therapy to reduce swelling and relieve pain
- Medical massage to relieve overall muscle tension
- Training and education to improve posture and correct jaw alignment
- Manual – hands on- movement of the TMJ to release restrictive scar tissue and improve range of motion
- Ultrasound therapy using high-frequency sound waves over the TMJ to reduce pain, swelling, and improve blood circulation
Medical Insurance Coverage for TMJ Diagnosis and Pain Management Treatment
At Spine and Sports Medicine, there is no requirement for you to obtain an outside primary physician referral to have the cost of your TMJ diagnosis and pain management treatment covered by your insurance plan. Most insurance plans cover the cost of diagnosing and treating TMJ. Our insurance experts will help you to determine your coverage and assist in processing your claims.
Discover Multidisciplinary Therapeutic TMJ Treatment in One Convenient Location
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ – and have been delaying seeking treatment for your pain and discomfort – reach out to the Multidisciplinary Team of Pain Management Experts at Spine and Sports Medicine by clicking below or calling 212.986.3888. Remember – delaying treatment will only worsen your TMJ. Discover pain relief benefits provided by a multidisciplinary therapeutic practice in one convenient Midtown Manhattan location – at Madison Avenue and 40th Street.