Kim Lawler-Coyle, PT, DPT has been an expert in TMJ Therapy in Orange County since 1984. Problems with the Temporomandibular Joint (or jaw joint) cause more than jaw pain. It results in symptoms like headaches, dizziness, facial, neck and shoulder problems. Kim incorporates our experienced team in the treatment to maximize your benefits. Kim’s specialized experience in TMJ results in dozens of Professionals referring their patients.
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the bone at the side of the head, the temporal bone. If you place your fingers in front of your ears and open your mouth, you can feel the joints. The jaw can move up and down and side to side because these joints are flexible. It allows us to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control its position and movement.
When opening our mouths, the rounded ends of the lower jaw, glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone. The condyles slide back to their original position when we close our mouths. To keep this motion smooth, a soft disc lies between the condyle and the temporal bone. This disc absorbs shocks to the jaw joint from chewing and other movements.
The temporomandibular joint is different from the body’s other joints. The combination of hinge and sliding motions makes this joint complicated. The tissue that make up the temporomandibular joint differ from joints, like the knee or hip. The jaw joint and muscles can pose a challenge to both patients and health care providers.
What are TMJ Disorders that need TMJ Therapy in Orange County?
Disorders of the jaw joint and chewing muscles, and how people respond to them, vary. Researchers generally agree that the conditions fall into three main categories:
- Myofascial pain involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function
- Internal derangement involves a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle
- Degenerative or inflammatory joint disorders can affect the temporomandibular joint
A person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time. Health problems often coexist with TMJ disorders. These include chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disturbances and fibromyalgia. These disorders share common symptoms. This suggests that they may share similar underlying mechanisms of disease.
Rheumatic disease, such as arthritis, may also affect the temporomandibular joint. Rheumatic diseases are a large group of disorders causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Arthritis and some TMJ disorders involve inflammation of the tissues of the joints. The relationship between conditions is unknown.
How jaw joint and muscle disorders progress is not clear, however, symptoms worsen and ease over time. Most people have mild forms of the disorder. Their symptoms improve, or disappear, within weeks or months. For others, the condition causes long-term, persistent and debilitating pain.
What causes TMJ Disorders that require TMJ Therapy in Orange County?
Trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint plays a role in some TMJ disorders. But for most jaw joint and muscle problems, scientists don’t know the cause. The condition is more common in women than in men. With that in mind, scientists are exploring a possible link between female hormones and TMJ disorders.
For many people, symptoms seem to start without an obvious reason. Research disputes that a bad bite or orthodontic braces triggers TMJ disorders.
There is no scientific proof that sounds, such as clicking in the jaw joint lead to serious problems. In fact, jaw sounds are common in the general population. Jaw noises without pain or limited jaw movement, are not a TMJ disorder and may not warrant treatment.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of TMJ?
Many symptoms exist for TMJ disorders. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and jaw joint, is the most common symptom. Other likely symptoms include:
- Radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck
- Jaw muscle stiffness
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
Diagnosing TMJ Disorders for TMJ Therapy
There is not an accepted, standard test now available to diagnose TMJ disorders. Because the exact causes and symptoms are unknown, identifying the disorder is difficult. Professionals note symptoms, take detailed histories, and examine the patient. The examine includes the jaw, face, head and neck. If it benefits the patient the professional will recommend Imaging Tests.
Some patients consult with their Physician to rule out other known causes of pain. Facial pain can be a symptom of sinus or ear infections, many types of headaches, and facial neuralgia.
Best Approach for TMJ Therapy in Orange County
Experts recommend using the most conservative, reversible treatments possible. Conservative treatment does not invade the tissues of the face, jaw, or joint. Reversible treatments don’t cause permanent changes to the jaw or teeth position. Surprisingly, when TMJ disorders are persistent, most patients do not need aggressive treatment. This is where Focus On Health excels with our Results because of our advanced hands-on skills. They are gentle, non-invasive and will not hurt the patient.
Next Steps to Getting Help to Heal
Focus On Health makes a difference with TMJ Therapy in Orange County. We provide many treatment methods with expert knowledge, all which are gentle. So, don’t hesitate to call and make an appointment so we can help stop your suffering. We work with the Difficult to Treat Temporomandibular Conditions. We get Great Results and have for more than 30 years.
So, here are a few things you can do.
Learn more about the Conditions We Treat.
Read the Experiences of our other Patients on our Testimonials Page.