TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint disorder happens when you experience pain in your jaws. Most of the time, it manifests through excruciating headaches. Causes of TMJ include bad dental work, dental problems, clenching and grinding of teeth, hormonal changes for women, trauma, and poor posture. The pain extends from the head and face to the neck.
A rather obvious sign is when a person grinds or clenches the jaw day and even at night during their sleep. Then, there are the agonizing headaches and forehead pain. TMJ patients also feel that their scalp is sore and sensitive. Light sensitivity, bloodshot and watery eyes are also signs of TMJ-caused pain. There is also ear pain, which includes hearing ringing or buzzing sounds, feeling like the ears are stuffed and clogged. It’s also troubling to chew and swallow food. Even talking or yawning gives discomfort, especially when there is swelling on the affected side of mouth or jaw.
Before you go running to your dentist to fix your TMJ, you can try exercising your jaw to alleviate the pain and properly set your jaw. These exercises will train your posture, head, neck, and bite. However, if you don’t feel better after doing the activities, it’s best to consult your doctor. In worst case scenarios, the physician could opt for surgery. If it’s still treatable, mouth guards or medication are administered.
You can start by not eating hard, crunchy food. A soft food diet wouldn’t put any pressure on your jaws. If the pain hits you by surprise, you can try giving yourself a facial massage. When you’re at home, apply warm or cold compress to the affected area. Also, ask your doctor to prescribe the right kind of medicine to take for pain reliever (perhaps Tylenol or Advil). Avoid worsening your TMJ by being wary of your habits such as resting your chin on your hand or grinding or clenching your teeth when you’re stressed. Try to keep your teeth mildly open to avoid a jaw lock.
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