|TMJ is a collective term for a range of disorders displaying a variety of signs – radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders; limited movement or locking of the jaw; painful clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth; and a significant change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together. Other common symptoms include headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems, and difficulty swallowing.
The Jaw Symptom Questionnaire consists of the following questions:
o Does it hurt when you open wide to yawn?
o Does it hurt when you chew or use the jaws?
o Does it hurt when you’re not chewing or using the jaws?
o Is your pain worse upon waking?
o Do you have pain in front of the ear, or earaches?
o Do you have jaw muscle or cheek pain?o Do you have pain in the temples?
o Do you have pain or soreness in the teeth?
o Do your jaws make noise so that it bothers you or others?
o Do you find it difficult to open your mouth wide?
o Does your jaw ever get stuck/lock as you open it?
o Does your jaw ever lock open so that you cannot close it?
o Is your bite uncomfortable?
In my experience if a patient answers more than three of the above questions they will benefit by laser therapy, gentle soft tissue work and improving posture. Oftentimes TMJ patients are helped by an education component and proper explanation to help themselves heal.
Dr. Tucker teaches TMJ and Cervical Diagnosis and Treatment for the American Chiropractic Association Rehab Council.