When most people think of TMJ problems they think of jaw pain. Interestingly enough, many people experiencing TMJ problems don't necessarily have jaw pain (yet). They might have clicking or popping in the jaw when opening or closing or difficulty opening the mouth fully. If left untreated these small inconveniences can lead to larger and more painful problems.
Of course the jaw is probably the most common place where someone might experience symptoms, but symptoms of TMJ problems can be much more widespread than just jaw pain. Headaches, neck and upper back pain, apnea, fatigue, tooth pain, ear pain, malocclusion (the way the teeth fit together), shoulder pain, and even low back pain can be caused by TMJ problems.
Getting a proper diagnosis is key. Did you know, dentists and chiropractors get almost no training in the TMJ in graduate school? Your average dentist, orthodontist, or chiropractor knows very little, if anything, about the TMJ and jaw. Unless he/she has had special training someone else will probably be a better bet to determine if the TMJ is causing your symptoms, and what to do about it.
Dr. Jason Scoppa is a TMJ specialist located in Bellevue, WA.