Temporo-mandibular Joint

BY IN Health On January 11, 2016

TMJ, or Temporo-mandibular joint, is an issue that plagues up to 15% of the American public. The joint connects the jaw to the side of your head, enables you to sing, talk, chew and yawn.  Unfortunately TMJ disorders are not often immediately diagnosed.

Blog #2Some of the early symptoms such as ear, jaw, temple and/or cheek pain, ringing in the ears, and neck aches or headaches can also be attributed to other causes. Other symptoms can include sore jaw muscles, pain in the jaw accompanied by clicking or locking of the jaw, and difficulty fully opening the mouth.

TMJ can be caused by physical or emotional stress. Stress can lead to clenching of the muscles around the joint and teeth grinding (called bruxism) both when awake and when asleep. Physical causes such as infection, car accidents, or other trauma can also play a part.  Poor posture, such as holding the head forward, as we do so much in our smart phone and tablet world these days, can also lead to a TMJ disorder.

There are many ways to treat TMJ, depending on the root cause of the problem. Massage, heat or ice applications, and gentle stretching and strengthening excercises can often provide relief. More aggressive forms of treatment would include muscle relaxants and NSAIDs and dental procedures.

Something you can do for yourself is to try this accupressure point. Triple Warmer 17 is a functional point to relieve jaw tension which is located in the indentation under the earlobe. This point can be stimulated by applying light pressure to the point under both earlobes using your middle fingers. Hold the pressure for a minute while taking long and deep breaths. This acupressure point can often be tender, so it is best to use gentle pressure. This point helps to tone facial muscles and is useful to treat ear pain, facial spasms, mumps, jaw pain, lock jaw, toothache, facial paralysis and itchy ears.

 


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