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TMJ

Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers

Chiropractic Clinics & Physical Therapists located in The Woodlands, TX & Houston, TX

If you wake up most mornings with a throbbing headache or stiff jaw, TMJ may be to blame. Left unmanaged, TMJ can negatively affect your quality of life and make even simple tasks like chewing or biting painful. The team of chiropractors and pain management experts at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers, with three convenient locations in Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land, Texas, can effectively diagnose and treat TMJ. To request your appointment today, call the office nearest you or book online.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is a painful condition caused by tension and/or undue stress on your temporomandibular joints. Everyone has two temporomandibular joints. They sit directly under your ears and act like sliding hinges, allowing you to chew, yawn, and speak.

Medical professionals aren’t entirely sure what causes TMJ to develop, but it’s thought that a combination of factors play a role, including chronic conditions like arthritis, genetics, and teeth grinding. High levels of stress and/or anxiety may also increase your risk.

No matter the cause, if jaw pain is negatively affecting your quality of life, it’s important to seek professional medical help as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

The symptoms of TMJ vary from person to person. Common telltale signs include:

  • Aching pain in or around your ears
  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw tenderness
  • Aching facial pain
  • Pain while chewing
  • Pain while yawning

If you have TMJ, you might also notice that your jaw makes a clicking or popping noise every time you open your mouth to speak or to take a bite of food.

Who is at risk of developing TMJ?

TMJ affects people of all ages, races, and genders. That said, there are certain factors that may increase your risk, including:

  • A previous jaw injury
  • A history of grinding your teeth
  • A history of clenching your jaw
  • Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Being diagnosed with osteoarthritis

You’re also at risk if you've been diagnosed with a connective tissue disease, such as fibromyalgia.

How is TMJ diagnosed?

To diagnose TMJ, the team at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers reviews your medical history and asks you questions about your symptoms. They also conduct a physical exam of your mouth and jaw. During this part of your appointment, your provider:

  • Observes your jaw’s range of motion
  • Feels your jaw when it’s open and closed
  • Gently presses on your jaw to pinpoint areas of discomfort

If these measures don’t provide enough information, your doctor might also order X-rays, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or an MRI.

How is TMJ treated?

Treatment for TMJ depends on the severity of your symptoms. Whenever possible, though, the team at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers recommends conservative, integrative treatments, such as prescription or over-the-counter painkillers, physical therapy, and oral splints or mouthguards. If your pain persists or gets worse, you might also benefit from surgery.

If you’re experiencing persistent jaw pain, request an appointment at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers today by calling the office nearest you or booking online.