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Few days ago I felt severe pain in my ear and neck. I was really worried so naturally, I went to my doctor. After giving him some basic information he told me that I might have problem with TMJ. I would like to know more about TMJ? What is the therapy for conditions caused by dysfunction of TMJ?

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TMJ or Temporo-Mandibular Joint is the joint where the lower jaw (the mandible) joins the temporal bone of the skull, in front of the ear on each side of your head. It is one of the most frequently used joints of the body. Each time you chew you move it and you also move it every time you talk or swallow (every three minutes). Symptoms in TMJ dysfunction are: ear pain, soar jaw muscles, temple and cheek pain, difficulty in opening the mouth etc. There are some other symptoms besides pain that TMJ dysfunction can cause. It can make clicking, popping or grinding sounds when the jaw is opened widely. In most patients, pain caused by TMJ dysfunction is a result of displacement of the cartilage disc. The cartilage disk causes pressure and stretching of the associated sensory nerves. The clicking or popping occurs when the disk snaps into place when the jaw moves. There are some basic things you can do to help yourself like resting the joints and the muscles by eating soft food, avoiding clenching or tensing, stop chewing gum etc. In cases of joint injury, ice packs applied soon after the injury can help reduce swelling and other therapies may include fabrication of an occlusal splint to prevent wear and tear on the joint.
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