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Unusual Causes of TMJ Disorder

Posted Jan 07 2009 2:57pm
One of the reasons TMJ Disorder is such a difficult condition to pinpoint, is that its causes are far ranging and sometimes very odd.

Talking, a lot of it, may cause jaw discomfort if you're suffering from TMJ Disorder. If you're a teacher or in a profession where talking is a large part of your job, you may qualify for disability if the TMJ condition interferes with your ability to earn your livelihood. Talking will not cause TMJ Disorder, but it can certainly exacerbate the condition. TMJ Disorder that is irritated by talking is discussed in You Can Conquer TMJ:Ideas and Recipes.

Phone Use and TMJD

How do you hold the phone? Are you a person who cradles the phone on one side of your head more than the other? Cradling the phone between your ear and your shoulder can cause stress on the neck and jaw and lead to TMJ Disorder.

Computer Posture and TMJD

How's your posture at the computer? There's growing evidence that one's posture while at the computer can have long ranging effects. Most people don't connect this to the jaw and to TMJ Disorder, but the connection is there. Often times the jaw ends up being bothered because of stress on the shoulders, neck or upper back. This particular cause is one that may be corrected by massage or chiropractic care. There are chiropractors who insist that spinal/neck manipulation alone will cure TMJ Disorder. This may work for some people, but there is no one cure-all for this condition.

Are you straining your neck during exercise routines? Neck muscles can impact the TMJ joint.

Stress and TMJD

There is little doubt that stress often affects people in negative ways, and TMJ Disorder can result from excessive stress. Interestingly, people often insist that they aren't stressed, so stress cannot possibly be the cause of their TMD. Stress, however, manifests itself differently in different people. For example, some people are pacers, fingernail chewers, worriers, so their stress is obvious. Usually this type of stress is emotional, but it has physical manifestations. Sufferers may get upset stomachs, headaches, migraines, depression.

Sometimes, however, the body may be experiencing stress that a person is unaware of. Physical conditions create stress that can manifest in problems like TMJ Disorder. Basically, anything that stresses the body - diet, fatigue, illness, drugs, prescription medication, injury, toxins of any kind, excess caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, even amalgam fillings - can potentially contribute to a person developing TMJ Disorder.

Age and Overuse of the Jaw

Arthritis is another cause of TMJ Disorder.

Hyper-extension of the jaw, usually occuring during prolonged dental procedures, can also cause TMJ Disorder.

Excessive gum chewing, fingernail biting, chewing on objects like plastic straws, pens, pencils, and other hard objects can also bring this disorder on.

Whiplash and TMJD

Of growing interest is the speculation that some cases of TMJ Disorder may be caused by whiplash injuries, often not manifesting until years after the whiplash occurred. Could having been shaken as a child not also result in a whiplash type injury which might not be apparent until TMJ Disorder develops years later?

Fortunately, most cases (certainly not all) of TMJ Disorder will self-resolve given time and a softer diet. You Can Conquer TMJ:Ideas and Recipes includes over 75 easy-to-cook, easy-to-chew recipes designed for the TMJD sufferer.
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