Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) is a painful disorder of the jaw muscles, nerves and sometimes the joint itself. It is caused by injury to the joint due to trauma or repetitive overuse. This can lead to pain upon chewing, clicking or popping of the jaw, headaches and more. Individuals with upper back and neck problems may also suffer from TMJ disfunction (TMD), as it is also sometimes called.
To prevent TMJ – TMD it is often beneficial to practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques, eat soft foods, cut your food into small pieces, avoid chewing gum or opening your mouth excessively wide, don’t rest your chin on your hand or hold the phone between your neck and shoulder and practice good posture.
Bruxing and clenching are also primary causes of this disfunction. Dr. Steven Levy can make a comfortable custom night guard for you which will help to alleviate grinding and clenching and thus your symptoms too. Over the counter, store bought, night guards can actually tend to make your clenching worse and exacerbate the pain.