TMJ pain? These are bad habits that could cause it.

.TMJ Pain

There are many bad habits that can lead to TMJ pain!  But first, what is TMJ pain?

TMJ pain is considered a temporomandibular disorder, which is a broad term referring to all neuromuscular and musculoskeletal conditions of the masticatory muscles, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and the adjacent structures.

Common symptoms include chronic myofascial pain, facial muscle pain, limited range of mouth to open your mouth, headaches and earache. 

Parafunctional functions, or could be known as “bad habits”, are one of the main evidence-based causes of TMJ pain

Therefore, addressing any “bad habits” during the subjective history to help figure out what is “picking” at the jaw is one of our main approaches to helping you understand the condition!

These are bad habits that could cause it.

These “bad habits”, or oral parafunctions include,

  1. Clenching — or more severe cases can be considered bruxism
    • It should also be noted that almost 90% of individuals with disc displacement and temporomandibular disorder pain are bruxers. 
    • Therefore, try not to clench!
  2. Excessive gum chewing
    • Excessive gum chewing (more than 4 hours/day) is positively correlated with joint pain.
    • This could also be either clicking or clenching of the TMJ. 
  3. Lip/nail biting
    • One of the negative aspects of nail biting with the jaw is that the person typically protrudes his/her head forward and also create more forward translation of the mandible in order to approximate the teeth.
    • Both of these factors can lead to having TMD!
  4. Non-nutritive sucking
    • This term is typically used for children.
    • Items can be sucking pacifiers or other objects.
    • For adults, I ask questions concerning other food – related or constant jaw / mouth movements that may irritate the TMJ, such as sucking on hard candies.

If you are suffering from TMJ pain, I would first address any of these habits and see if you have them!  Pain that is continuing to get “picked at” is tough to get better!

There are many other options to treatment of TMJ pain, but no matter who you see — either a physio, chiropractor, or dentist — you should check off some of these habits first to see if it is of any assistance!

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