TMJ - Clicky jaw? Pain when chewing?
Jaw pain or at least 'clicking' when chewing is common. The clicking occurs in the TMJ (temporo mandibular joint) just near the ear canal. Pain may or may not be present. Neither clicking or pain is normal. While the sound may seem benign, the long term effect on the TMJ can be serious.
Other TMJ symptoms can include - ringing in the ears, dizziness and vertigo, facial pain and headaches. These symptoms are often vague and overlap with many other conditions so the TMJ syndrome is generally not well understood, and often poorly managed.
So, what causes the jaw dysfunction?
The most likely culprits are:
Clenching and grinding (bruxing). This can create imbalance in mastication muscle.
Dental issues. This can require chewing on one side and can create muscle imbalances.
Repetitive gum chewing.
Sleeping with a hand under the jaw.
Trauma - blow to the side of the jaw and also whiplash.
Sleeping on your stomach.
So, what can be done about it?
While it would be nice to think there is a self fix for this condition, that is highly unlikely. However this type of condition is routinely dealt with by a Chiropractor. Once assessed, we usually find that it is easily dealt with and if cared for correctly full healing can be achieved.
As with most conditions the sooner you get treatment the sooner you can halt the damage. As mentioned earlier the long term decay that can occur at this joint can be nasty.
So if you or someone you know is experiencing pain when chewing or clicking or even dizziness why not get a thorough examination to get to the underlying cause.