Do you suffer from jaw pain, when you chew?
Does your jaw make a clicking or popping sound when you bite down?
The chances are you have what is called Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
What is it?
TMJ syndrome is pain in this jaw joint that can be caused by a variety of medical problems. The TMJ is comprised of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. You have two TMJs, one on each side of your jaw.
Where is it?
If you place your fingers just in front of your ears and open your mouth, you can feel the joint and its movement. When you open your mouth, the rounded ends of the lower jaw (condyles) glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone. The condyles slide back to their original position when you close your mouth. To keep this motion smooth, a soft disk of cartilage lies between the condyle and the temporal bone. This disk absorbs shock to the temporomandibular joint from chewing and other movements. Chewing creates a strong force. This disk distributes the forces of chewing throughout the joint space.
Problems in this area can cause head and neck pain, facial pain, ear pain, headaches, a jaw that is locked in position or difficult to open, problems with biting, and jaw clicking or popping sounds when you bite. Did you know more women than men suffer from this condition, and no its not because they are known to talk more!
How to fix it
Over use of the jaw, say chewing gum for long periods can make your jaw ache and uncomfortable, this is normal, and resting up should fix it. However, If you experience discomfort or pain for more than 24 hours, or sharp stabbing pains in your jaw region, please see a professional ASAP. Correct diagnosis and treatment can prevent a lot of unnecessary pain and discomfort.