If you suffer from headaches, have trouble with clicking and popping in your jaw or experience pain in, and around, your neck and face then you could have TMJ.

TMJ is the misalignment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It is this joint that allows your jaws to open, close and move from side to side. It is a bigger problem than you may think, with the American Dental Association estimating that over 10 million people in the United States suffer from this misalignment. TMJ disorder or TMJD can go years without properly being diagnosed and treated effectively.

To give you some background information, there are five muscles, together with the TMJ, which connect the upper and lower part of your jaw. It is these muscles and joints that allow the free movement of your jaws so they can be opened and closed, as well as moved in different directions to facilitate chewing motions.

The area can suffer from a number of problems that result in pain being experienced along with a reduction in movement. These problems are commonly known as TMJD.

Grinding your teeth can be a cause of TMJ, so you should research methods on how to stop grinding teeth in order to prevent TMJ occurring, or potentially making the TMJD worse.

The misalignment of your jaw joints can happen due to a variety of different reasons. Your teeth may not fit perfectly together due to genetics or orthodontia. It may not just be a genetic issue, but your lifestyle can also cause a misalignment in your jaw joints. Take a look at your habits; do you cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder or have you suffered any whiplash injury? Both these and more can play a major role in those who have experienced TMJ discomfort.

There are a number of ways in which TMJ can be treated:

Massage: If you can take time out of your day to massage your jaw joints that can help relax those tight muscles.

Heat: Applying heat to the area where you are experiencing the most discomfort can also help relax the muscles. Try applying a warm heating pad or hot water bottle to your jaw, ensuring that is not too hot so that you burn your skin in those areas.

Ice: You should try to alternate both heat and cold treatments and ice packs are great to apply once you have applied your heat treatment.

Pain Relief: Over the counter drugs, like ibuprofen, are ideal to relieve pain as they are an anti-inflammatory; therefore, relieving swelling around the muscles and joints.

Relax: Certain relaxation methods can help with TMJ, so try massaging techniques as well as more generic relaxation exercises such as Yoga to help improve your mind and body. A happy soul is one that will help protect you against any TMJD’s.

Habits: Try and kick unhealthy habits, or habits that will not help improve any TMJD’s. For example, invest in a hands-free kit for your phone to avoid resting it between your ear and shoulder.