• Amanda Michelle Reyes

Temporomandibular Disorder

TMD is a generalized term to describe disorders affecting the jaw, its musculature, or both. In most cases is unilateral and it is far more common in women than men. Common causes are physical and psychosocial stresses such as posture, sleeping face down with the face turned to one side, a severe blow to the jaw, malocclusion, misalignment, nail biting, excessive gum chewing, or chewing hard objects especially on one side of the mouth. Teeth clenching and grinding are also causes; and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and fibromyalgia contribute to TMD

TMD is unique. The left and right side cannot move independently, but the joint still has a wide range of motion, allowing the mandible to move up, down, forward, backward, and side to side. The joint capsule stretches with the position of the mouth. A fibrous cartilage disc cushions the temporal bone as it contacts the condyle of the mandible, but the disc is sometimes pulled awry or injured, which can lead to problems in the joint.

Furthermore, the muscles that control jaw movement are particularly prone to developing trigger points, which can refer pain into the face, over the head, into the neck, and even into the ear (can cause loss of hearing or tinnitus).

There are injuries that have similarities with TMD like having an infected tooth, so a conclusive diagnosis is important. That being said massage therapy is a non-surgical option to relive tension and pain.

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