Countless Americans are complaining about jaw pain everyday, but very few are keen to the exact cause of this constant nuisance. For many of them, the cause can be traced back to temporomandibular joint disorder, better known as TMD. TMD is characterized by the dysfunction of the hinge or joint that connects the upper and lower jaw. The exact cause can vary from person to person, making it challenging to specifically pinpoint, however it can be treated by various different methods. The first step to relieving your jaw pain is to understand the different elements of TMD, from symptoms to reliefs. Here is a little more information on what may be causing your pain.

Symptoms of TMD

The most telltale sign of TMD is when you feel as if your jaw is popping, clicking, or even locking for a moment. Though it cannot be fully diagnosed without a complete medical record and x-rays performed by your dentist, there are some more signs that have been directly linked to TMD. It has been known to cause headaches similar to migraines, causing pressure behind the eyes and ears that can be extremely painful. Pain can also be caused by things such as yawning, chewing, or opening your mouth widely. Furthermore, TMD can cause jaw tenderness and a change in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or more, it’s important to consult with your dentist or doctor to successfully diagnose your potential TMD and begin a comprehensive treatment plan.

What Causes TMD

The exact cause of TMD is inconclusive, but there are certain things that have been directly linked to its diagnosis. One of the leading sources of TMD is grinding or clenching your jaw – since it puts an exceeding amount of pressure on the jaw itself. Arthritis in the joint, deterioration of the joint in the jaw, head injuries, whiplash and stress have also been linked to TMD. Stress is actually one of the most prevalent triggers of TMD, as it causes tension and clenching in the face and jaw.

Relieving TMD and Jaw Pain

Although there’s many questions centered around the symptoms and causes of TMD, the number one question is how to relieve the incessant jaw pain that comes with the disorder. Over the counter painkillers may relieve some pain, as well as using an ice pack for ten minutes, followed by a heat pack for five. Eating soft foods, avoiding strenuous jaw movements, relaxing your jaw, and avoiding resting your chin on your hand are other ways you can avoid aggravating your TMD. However, these are only short-term solutions. If you’re looking for a long-term soltuion try physical therapy.

Physical Therapy and TMD

Physical therapy can be one of the most effective methods when it comes to relieving the pain from TMD. Your physical therapist will walk you through and teach you relaxation techniques, massage techniques, exercises, and more to relieve pain and improve flexibility and strength in the jaw. Special equipment in physical therapy, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), can also help relax your muscles and increase blood flow to relieve your jaw pain. By developing a specifically constructed plan, your physical therapist can help you come up with long-term solutions to relieve your TMD-caused jaw pain.

Physical Therapy Near Chicago

If you’re experiencing jaw pain or have been diagnosed with TMD and are looking for solutions, then look no further than IMPACT Physical Therapy. With convenient locations in and near Chicago, all of our locations are staffed with highly trained professionals who are dedicated to relieving your pain. Aside from TMD, we offer a plethora of different services including injury assessments, athletic training services, treatments for chronic pain, headaches, and much more. When you decide to enter our clinics, your physical therapist will sit down with you and construct a personalized and effective plan of attack for whatever you are looking for. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and take the first step towards a stronger and pain free life.