Millions of Americans are thought to suffer from the painful condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD), yet this treatable problem is often ignored due to a lack of awareness. The recent news that rap/pop star Iggy Azalea had been diagnosed with TMJD and is pursuing treatment as she works on a new album, however, has generated substantial attention on Twitter and in the tabloid media.
What is TMJD?
TMJD is named for the temporomandibular joints, which connect your lower jaw with your skull. It is thought that bite conditions, a misaligned jaw and other factors can place undue stress on the temporomandibular joints and these compact connective regions, which also include the trigeminal nerves; the trigeminal nerve, among other roles, registers sensation throughout the face.
TMJD often results in migraine-like headaches and chronic pain in the face, neck, shoulders and back as well as other uncomfortable symptoms. Without treatment, the discomfort associated with TMJD can progressively grow worse.
Because TMJD’s indicators are vague and symptomatic of other conditions, it is often misunderstood by patients and misdiagnosed by doctors who lack experience in the field of neuromuscular dentistry.
Iggy Pops Up from Hiatus with TMJD News
The 24-year-old Azalea broke the news of her condition on New Year’s Eve, while taking a break from touring and other appearances to record a new album. “…I was diagnosed with TMJ which isn’t the best,” she posted on her Twitter page.
She believes her individual TMJD was caused at least in part by stress, and stress and anxiety are often cited by those seeking treatment for TMJD. As part of her treatment, Azalea tweeted that she is going to “make more of an effort to take care of myself in 2015.”
While Azalea noted that TMJD will not interfere with her new album, she acknowledged via Twitter that “it has made me realize it’s important to look after yourself.”
Limiting external stressors can help relieve the discomfort associated with TMJD, but additional treatment is often necessary to correct the source of the condition.
Custom-made orthotic devices, sometimes referred to as “bite splints,” have proven effective in comfortably bringing the jaw into proper alignment and relieving the long-term discomfort of TMJD. Other patients may benefit from orthodontics to correct a bite condition. Your dentist will help you determine the best treatment solution based on your individual condition.
If you experience chronic headaches and facial pain that have otherwise defied diagnosis and over-the-counter remedies, please contact Dan Matthews, DDS, online or call 512-452-2273 to schedule your consultation. Dr. Matthews has helped a number of patients find lasting relief from TMJD.