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What is TMJ?

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

What is TMJ

TMJ is the acronym for temporomandibular joint. The name sounds scary, but really it is just a way of letting you know it is where the temporal bone and mandible bone meet. And since it is a joint, those with connective tissue disorders tend to have some irritation or TMJ pain. It has been found that those with Ehlers Danlos syndrome are strongly associated with several oral and mandibular jaw conditions including craniofacial pain and TMJ.

The temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull in the front of the ear, and are used for talking, chewing, and swallowing. Locked jaw, deviated jaws, and joint noises and an overall limit of jaw movement are all common in those with TMJ pain or dysfunction.

When TMJ gets overwhelming to the point where there are frequent and overlapping symptoms patients may start to experience frequent headaches (normally upon waking up and into the afternoon), abnormal or painful jaw movements, pain in or around the eyes, cheek pain, and mandibular pain.

Since TMJ is seen as a spectrum of pain, there is an array of treatments available. Over the counter pain medications may be taken or muscle relaxants can be prescribed for severe pain.

In addition, doctors may also recommend mouth guards to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching. If the pain is persistent, it is important to speak to a physical therapist or orthopedic specialist to see if there are any physical therapy treatments needed to help!

Be sure to consult with your primary care physician or other medical professionals in regards to your medical concerns. This text cannot and should not replace advice from the patient's healthcare professionals. Any person who experiences symptoms or feels that something may be wrong should seek individual professional help for evaluation and/or treatment. This information is for guidance only.

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