TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)
TMJ pain and abnormality can result from injury to the neck or cervical area caused by an accident or automobile collision. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is a joint located just forward from the ears. Whiplash to the cervical area can affect the TMJ but the symptoms can be masked by cervical pain and a delay in symptoms and diagnose is often the case. TMJ is often perceived as jaw pain that is worsened when the patient opens and closes his mouth. The disc in the joint moves out of place with this motion and can cause pain and a “clicking” noise. Without treatment, the joint may deteriorate further and result in jaw “locking” episodes. Inflammation, a wearing down of the bone and ultimately degenerative arthritis may occur without quick and appropriate treatment. Symptoms also include moderate to severe pain and weakness in the jaw muscles, neck and shoulder muscles, headaches, sinus and facial pain. Treatment can include a combination of some of the following: muscle relaxers, relaxation techniques, exercise, orthodontic devices, physical therapy, injections, electrical nerve stimulation, EMG biofeedback, acupuncture and antihistamines. Some of these modalities may need to be practiced by the patient over his lifetime.