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Ear and Jaw Pain

Do You Have
Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder?




If you suffer from ear and jaw pain, it could be caused by Temporo- Mandibular Joint Dis- order (TMJD).  These joints are located on either side of the head, just in front of the ears.  They're used for chewing and biting.

When under stress, we tend to clench our teeth together.  This can be the beginning of TMJD.  The pain associated with TMJ can be as mild as tightness or as severe as a migraine headache.

Over time, this can affect your teeth and your overall bite. It's important to get proper treatment before the symptoms and damage become irreversible.


 TMJ Relief Comes in Many of Forms



There are some simple techniques you can do yourself to alleviate the pain and TMJ symptoms.  These include but are not limited to: avoid clenching your jaw, stretch the jaw muscles with simple opening and closing techniques and using heat or cold packs.

TMJ Massage techniques may also help with pain associated and with the tight jaws.  The clenching can cause some additional symptoms , such as: headaches, locked jaw or clicking jaw, earaches and dullness in the facial muscles.


Age is NOT a Factor

This is fairly common problem, although there is no distinct age in which the disorder occurs.  It is thought in some cases this may be caused at birth and possibly hereditary while in others develops over time, especially when the individual is prone to repeated stress.

Surgical TMJ treatment may include Arthrocentisis which may help by unlocking the joint.   This is usually performed on advanced cases and although not a permanent fix to the ailment, may provide some TMJ relief. 

Joint replacement is also another option which involves replacing the joint affected.


Mild to Serious Disorder



TMJ disorder is a potentially serious ailment if not treated effectively. There are a number of steps physicians take if they determin that you're in the advanced stage. Sleep studies are often conducted, as well as studies involving hearing and eating.

Fortunately there are some simple techniques and remedies you can use to relieve your pain in the comfort of your own home.

Mouth guards may offer some relief but tend to break down after repeated use especially for patients who clench their jaws, repeatedly. Not to mention the cost!  These things can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

Saying "mmmmwwwwaaaahh" will help you to keep from clenching your teeth while concentrating on something.  Of course, this will come with practice...it's not like we say something like this on a regular basis! 


Exercises



These are to relax and strengthen the TMJ muscles and joint. Start gently.  As your muscles relax, your ear and jaw pain should start to ease, too.

  1. Place palm on  one side of your jaw.
  2. Align teeth.
  3. Hold 5 seconds.
  4. Relax.
  5. Repeat 3-5 times.
  6. Switch sides and do other side of your jaw.

Then:

  1. Open mouth.
  2. Put fingers inside bottom front teeth.
  3. Gently push down, keeping jaw still.
  4. Hold 5 seconds.
  5. Do a total of 5 times.

TMJ Stretch

  1. Place palm on chin with teeth aligned.
  2. Relax jaw.
  3. Gently push palm straight into chin.
  4. This creates a "turkey neck".
  5. Hold 5 seconds.
  6. Do for a total of 5 times.
  7. Gradually increase time as you do these.


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