While some medical conditions remain largely unheralded among laymen, this does not mean that they cannot cause significant pain and discomfort. Take the example of the Temporomanibular Joint (TMJ), which is a unknown to most individuals and yet can be a tremendous source of pain in the neck, head and jaw.
The TMJ is an area located directly in front of both ears, and consists of moving parts where the upper and lower jaw meet. Comprised of bone, muscle and tendon, it is used throughout the day to allow humans to talk, chew and bite whenever necessary. When its individual components are relaxed, these actions can be performed without issue or any semblance of discomfort.
TMJ Disorders and how they are Influenced by Stress
If you are suffering with a TMJ disorder, however, then even the basic action of chewing can cause significant pain in the jaw, neck and head. There are also a number of accepted behavioral causes to consider, with the persistent grinding of teeth and chewing on only one side of the mouth both renowned for contributing towards the development of TMJ issues. Even the slight misalignment of teeth can cause long term TMJ disorders, especially among patients who have experienced previous jaw fractures or significant trauma to their facial bones.
These physical contributing factors aside, however, there is reason to believe that stress and other psychological factors may also be influential in developing TMJ symptoms. A recent study among high school students revealed that while 36% of respondents reported possible TMJ symptoms up to 6 months before their college entrance exams, this figure soared to 50.9% during the final week of preparation. These symptoms included jaw discomfort, neck pain and headaches, and suggested that the student demographic may be particularly vulnerable to the perils of TMJ disorders.
TMJ Treatment for Students
Regardless of whether it is anxiety and undue stress or a long standing dental complaint that is exacerbating your TMJ symptoms, however, the issue needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency. TMJ disorders can have a direct and unsettling impact on your everyday life, and are known to be the cause of extreme pain and discomfort over time.
With this in mind, it is imperative that you seek out medical advice the moment that you begin to experience any potential TMJ symptoms. In the light of recent research local students may be particularly at risk, so if you attend the University of Texas in Austin and have cause for concern then schedule an appointment to see Dr. Dan Matthews, a cosmetic dentist in Austin, at your earliest convenience.