Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Symptoms

The head, in humans, is positioned on top of the structures of the cervical vertebrae, linked by muscles and joints and has a direct association with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), one of the most complicated joints of the body. Any misalignment of the muscles and joints associated with the head and neck may create stress elsewhere in the structure causing pain and mobility.

TMJ Disorder can produce a large number of diverse of symptoms. The most commonly experienced are:-

  • Problems with the jaw joint including:
    • Popping and clicking of the joint
    • Grinding noises
    • Limited opening
    • Inability to open the jaw smoothly and evenly
  • Head Pain including:
    • Migraine
    • Cluster headaches
    • Forehead pain
    • Headache at the back of the head
    • Sinus type headaches.
  • Teeth and Gum problems including:
    • Clenching during the night or day
    • Bruxism – Grinding of the teeth
    • Excessive wear of teeth due to grinding
    • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Eye problems including:
    • Eye pain above, below and behind the eye
    • Pressure behind the eye
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Blurred vision
  • Ear problems including:
    • Ringing, buzzing, hissing or roaring noises in the ears
    • Ear pain without infection
    • Clogged, stuffy or itchy ears
  • Throat problems including:
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Tightness of the throat
    • Sore throat without infection
    • Tongue pain
    • Voice fluctuations
  • Neck and shoulder problems including:
    • Neck pain
    • Shoulder pain
    • Sore/tired neck
    • Upper and lower back pain
    • Tingling, numbness or pain in the arm and fingers
  • Dizziness caused by obstructed blood vessels restricting blood flow to the brain.

The temporomandibular joint is involved with speaking, chewing, swallowing and breathing and directs the postural relationships of the head, neck, chin and tongue and the hyoid bone which supports the tongue. It acts as a double sided hinge which means that any misalignment on one side will generate a problem in the opposite side.

Pain in the joint is caused because its association with the tri-geminal nerve. This nerve has three branches that are involved with the eyes and ears and with the chewing action of the upper and lower jaw. Two groups of pain receptors have input to the spine and transmit pain, one group transmits pain quickly whilst the other group is more receptive to dull, chronic pain and pressure.

The tri-geminal nerve also connects to the sinuses, ear canal, oral cavity and teeth which is why TMJ dysfunction can cause headaches, eye pain, sinus pressure and dental pain and may also cause pain in the neck and shoulders

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