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Taking Control of TMJ: Your Total Wellness Program for Recovering from Temporomandibular Joint Pain

Taking Control of TMJ: Your Total Wellness Program for Recovering from Temporomandibular Joint Pain - Robert O. Uppgaard Taking control of TMJA really comprehensive coverage of TMJ. Discussion of fascia. “When fascia malfunctions due to injury, illness, surgery, poor posture or inflammation, it becomes tight and binds down, resulting in abnormal pressure on nerves, muscles, bones or organs of the body. This excessive pressure can produce pain, headaches, TMJ dysfunction and restriction of motion. …• Fascia supports and stabilizes, thus enhancing the postural balance of the body.• It is vitally involved in all acts of motion and acts as a shock absorber. • It aids in circulation of the blood and lymphatic fluids.• It is a major area of inflammatory processes; that is, it is involved when there is any tissue irritation, injury or infection, characterized by pain, redness, localized fear, or swelling. • The central nervous system is surrounded by facial tissue, which attaches to the inside of the cranium. Dysfunction in these tissues can have a profound and widespread neurological effect. P. 16-17Referred pain and trigger pointsAlmost all TMJ disorder patients have referred pain from some muscle, if not many muscles, from head to toe. The hard nodules in … muscles that are sensitive to touch are called trigger points. Pain is felt not only in these trigger points, but also in areas remote from the site of the trigger point. This is called referred pain. Once you know which muscle is involved, if you press on the hard little knot or nodule there, you will most likely jump with pain. The trigger point, also called a myofascial trigger point, lies somewhere along the referring muscle, which is very tight. The muscle is usually described as a “taut band,” and it feels sinewy because it has tightened up from overuse, trauma of some sort, poor posture, or other reasons. By eliminating the trigger point in the muscle, you also eliminate the pain in the faraway area. P. 46Sternocleidomastoid (under the ear)The sternocleidomastoid, or SCM, contains two parts that attach to the mastoid bone: one part connects to the collarbone and the other part connects to the breastbone (sternum). SCM trigger points can be caused by trauma, looking up for long periods of time, or putting too much stress on my muscles. Even the compression of a tight collar can cause trigger points, such as those with a keyboard or counter that is too high. Sitting in poorly designed chairs or other furniture can also cause triggers to develop. The sternal portion can refer pain to the front or top of the head, over the eye, across the cheek, or to the back of the throat and tongue. A trigger can cause pain deep inside the eye or ear, cause tearing, reddening of the eye, or drooping of the eyelid. It can also cause visual disturbances such as the blurring of vision. Ringing in the ear and even deafness have also been reported. The collarbone attachment can cause frontal headaches and earaches, and pain to the cheek and back teeth. Other symptoms are dizziness caused by movement and disturbed balance, dizziness from improper posture, frontal headaches and impaired sleep. Spatial disorientation and vertigo are common. Episodes of dizziness can last for seconds or hours. Loss of motor control can happen unexpectedly. P. 50TrapeziusThe trapezius extends across your back and shoulders. Trigger points are often activated by trauma from whiplash or other injuries, holding hands above waist level to work, weight of a heavy coat or shoulder bag, poor postural habits, or a tight bra strap. A trigger point in this muscle is a major source of tension headaches. Pain is referred to the back and the side of the neck, behind the ear and up to the temple. Sometimes there can be pain in the lower back teeth and even the outer ear. If you sleep with a thick, firm pillow this muscle is especially vulnerable to trigger points. P. 51Who needs a splint?1. Myofascial pain in the head and neck area, as a result of trigger points that refer pain. 2. Internal derangement of the TMJ due to any or all of the following reasons.a. A poor biteb. Any traumatic injury to the head, face, jaw or neck. c. Bad postural habits or oral habits that promote clenchingMost modern authorities recommend splint therapy as a temporary measure with the therapeutic goals being relaxation of the muscles, altering joint loading (reducing forces that can be damaging to the various tissues that make up the TMJ), and general symptoms of relief. The proper rule of thumb for the use of splints is “Do no harm.” P. 147