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What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can cause you pain due to a number of factors, including an injury, clenching your jaw or ongoing arthritis. Some of the symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Stiff or sore jaw

  • Frequent or severe headache pain

  • Numbness of face or head

  • Clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the jaw

  • Clenching or grinding teeth

  • Discomfort or pain when chewing food

  • Facial pain

  • Tooth pain

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Muscle stiffness in the neck and shoulders

TMJ and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Following a motor vehicle accident, many individuals complain not only of whiplash-related injuries, but also difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Non-restorative sleep patterns, together with pain referral from the neck and shoulder area can cause increased bruxism activity at night (and even during the day).

The increased jaw muscle activity also results in the displacement of one or both TMJ discs. This results in clicking, popping, cracking and jaw locking. The joints become inflamed, the disc remains displaced, the muscles stay sore and the patient's condition worsens. If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, don’t wait to schedule a physical examination. By setting up an appointment in our Toronto office, you can make sure there aren’t further complications to your injury.

Treating TMJ Disorder

The treatment chosen by Dr. Grushka for TMJ disorder depends on the severity of the issue. Often, an important aspect of treatment is sleep management using appropriate therapies, which tend to address pain as well. Once sleep and pain are addressed, bite splint therapy is often helpful as part of the overall approach to decrease the stresses to the TM joints and facial musculature during sleep. Equally important are manual therapy techniques, physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic techniques to decrease the neck and shoulder discomfort.

Headache Pain

Headaches can be caused by a wide variety of outlying issues, including TMJ disorder. If you’re simply using over-the-counter pain relievers, you might be putting a temporary bandage on a much larger problem. Come in to see us so we can get down to the root of the problem.

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