Chronic headaches. Face, jaw, or neck pain. Clicking or popping when you open your mouth. A bite that’s off. Difficulty chewing. All these are classic signs of TMJ troubles.
What Is TMJ Exactly?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and you have two of them – one on each side of your head. The joints are hinge-like structures with several moving parts consisting of bones and discs held together by tendons and muscles. They’re what let you open and close your mouth.
What Causes TMJ Disorders (TMD)?
Even a minor injury or misalignment can lead to jaw pain or trigger a TMJ disorder, or TMD.
For instance, a head or jaw injury can misalign the jaws in a way that stresses out or damages the joints, leading to jaw, face, head, and neck pain, among other symptoms.
Many causes, though, aren’t detectable right away but progressively worsen to cause TMD. Misaligned teeth, overbites, underbites, and bruxism – chronic grinding or clenching of teeth – can often trigger TMJ pain over time. Tension from everyday stress may exhibit itself in the jaw muscles and move on to other parts of the head and face. Weak neck or upper back muscles and genetics are likewise known to lead to TMDs.
If not treated, the associated pain can become chronic and further aggravate the jaw structure. In some patients, it can develop into a debilitating quality of life issue that restricts normal activities.
The Challenge of Getting a Correct Diagnosis
Some patients wind up seeing many different doctors in hopes of finding relief. Yet unless the doctor is well trained in TMD treatment, getting an accurate diagnosis – let alone, helpful treatment – is extremely difficult. This is partly because the TMJ is so complex and partly because TMD symptoms can easily be confused with other health issues.
As a result, some patients receive treatment that only temporarily or incompletely alleviates their symptoms.
Here in our Laguna Hills office, Dr. Abdulla is well versed in all aspects of diagnosing and treating TMDs with natural, holistic approaches. In fact, she has more than 25 years’ experience and a stellar reputation across Orange County for providing effective, lasting treatment of this common but often misdiagnosed disorder.
Here’s what one of her recent patients had to say about her experience in our office:
Identifying & Treating the Root Cause of Your TMD
Because we believe in the mind/body, mouth/body connection, we focus on alternative, holistic treatments that address the root cause of each patient’s TMJ pain. Once we identify the cause, we can focus on developing a personalized treatment plan that should have you feeling noticeably better with each visit and pain-free within one to three weeks.
Your treatment may include one or more of these components:
- Therapy, exercises, and meditation to reduce stress, manage stress triggers, and relax face and jaw muscles.
- Ultrasound therapy to deliver pain-relieving heat to neck and face muscles.
- Lightweight custom-fitted oral appliances or splints to realign the jaw during sleep.
Myofascial trigger point release therapy.
The main thing is not to do nothing. TMDs don’t get better on their own. If you’re experiencing symptoms, rather than wait for them to get so bad they interfere with your quality of life, reach out to us now, like this patient did: