45 Emerson Plaza East #102, Emerson, NJ 07630

TMJ/OROFACIAL PAIN

INTRODUCTION

TMJ pain, also known as TMD, the temporomandibular joint disorder is a very complex area - when it is affected, people may suffer from pain, pressure, weakness, and headaches caused by the TMJ joint. The joint coordinates the function of chewing, swallowing, and stabilization of the cervical spine and shoulder girdle. TMJ pain affects patients in various ways - it is not able to chew without pain, cracking or audible noise when opening/closing the mouth, headaches, migraines and muscle strain in the neck, face, and arms.

ANATOMY/FUNCTION

The TMJ connector connects the mandible to the skull. The TMJ pond consists of very important ligaments and muscles.

MUSCLES:

  • Opening – inferior head of lateral pterygoid, anterior digastric, mylohyoid.
  • Closing – masseter, anterior and middle temporalis, medial pterygoid, superior head lateral pterygoid.
  • Protrusion – bilateral contraction of the lateral pterygoid.
  • Retrusion – middle and posterior temporalis, posterior portion of masseter.
  • Laterotrusion – ipsilateral middle and posterior temporalis, contralateral inferior head lateral pterygoid.

LIGAMENTS:

  • Temporomandibular ligament
  • Stylomandibular ligament
  • Oto-mandibular ligaments
  • Discomalleolar ligament
  • Anterior malleolar ligament

The muscles are responsible for mastification (chewing)- these muscles are one of the strongest muscles in the human body. The load transfer through the TMJ joint exceeds 200lbs when opening and closing the mouth. The TMJ also plays a very important role in balance.

SYMPTOMS/CAUSES

TMJ's pain depends on the area and structures that have been irritated and affects the brain, causing nociception of the fire in specific areas of the joint. TMJ pain has often been confused with the problem of teeth, where the patient goes to the dentist for relief. Teeth or structural abnormalities of the bite are rarely responsible for TMJ pain. Most studies show stress and tension as the causative agent of the disorder. Symptoms of TMJ pain include, but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue in the face
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Pain or discomfort biting
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Pain, tightness, and tenderness in the jaw, neck of face
  • Clicking, popping or grinding sounds when opening or closing the mouth

DIAGNOSIS

At Emerson Physical Therapy & Rehab Center, the doctor will start a comprehensive study that will deal with the onset, cause, duration, severity, vectors that cause TMJ pain. TMJ pain rarely, if ever, requires a radiological referral.

TREATMENT

At Emerson Physical Therapy & Rehab Center, we have extensive experience in the treatment of TMJ pain. Based on functional assessment, we create an individual treatment plan. TMJ is a musculo-articular and muscular disorder in the joint causing misalignment. TMJ's pain will be treated both outside the face and intra-oral to release certain muscles. TMJ pain has a deep relationship with neck muscles and muscle abuse, which causes headaches and pain - which will be identified and treated accordingly. In addition to releasing superficial neck muscles, physicians and physiotherapists will heal the deep fascia of the cervix. Through appropriate joint training, the TMJ pond will regain the right balance. The rehabilitation program will aim to eliminate pain, increase the range of motion, and increase the stability of the entire joint.