Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a problem affecting the ‘chewing’ muscles and the joints between the lower jaw and the base of the skull.
Doctors sometimes refer to the condition as “myofascial pain disorder”. It’s been estimated that up to 30% of adults will experience TMD at some point in their lives. The condition itself isn’t usually serious, and the symptoms it can cause – including pain, jaw joint clicking or popping, and difficulties eating – usually only last a few months before getting better.
However, these symptoms can significantly lower quality of life, and specialist treatment might be required if they’re severe.
What are the symptoms?
TMD can cause:
- clicking, popping or grating noises as you chew or move your mouth
- muscle pain around the jaw
- pain in front of the ear that may spread to the cheek, ear and temple
- difficulty opening the mouth – the jaw may feel tight, as if it is stuck, making eating difficult
- headache or migraine
- earache or a “buzzing” or blocked sensation in the ear
- pain in other areas of the body – such as neck ache or backache
I have personally suffered from this condition on and off for many years and more recently after a particularly bad episode of grinding my teeth, resulted in severe tooth, ear and neck pain. Trigger point release works on the muscles in the neck and at the base of the skull( the temporalis) really helping with the problem and I was pain free after massaging the affected area.
It is certainly a condition that that needs consistent management more that anything else, but we are happy to discuss your condition at consultation to see if massage can help you too manage your symptoms.