A temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) affects the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. It is characterized by pain in the jaw, facial pain, difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, as well as difficulty in chewing and swallowing food. You are more likely to develop TMJD if you:

Are a Middle-Aged Woman

According to Cedar-Sinai, TMJD strikes women between the ages of 30 and 50 more frequently than people in other demographics.  In fact, women of child-bearing age account for 90% of TMJD patients. The reason for this is not known, but some possible theories are that:

  • Mineral deficiencies occasioned by menstruation are part of the problem
  • The female hormone, estrogen is a contributing factor
  • The collagen in the joint is weak in women

Have Poor Posture

Poor posture places a lot of strain on your upper back and neck. This strain may be transferred to your TM joint and cause the TMD symptoms. Avoid such neck pains by:

  • Not slouching
  • Not sitting for prolonged periods without breaks
  • Adjusting your car seat to support your head and lower back
  • Using a headset or speakerphone when making long phone calls

Have Heightened Pain Sensitivity

If the part of your central nervous system that controls your perception of pain is altered, then one possible result is an increased sense of pain. This means that even mildly painful or stressful sensations will feel very painful to you. As such, even a mild strain in the neck may exhibit itself to you as TMJD.

Have Relevant Gene Alterations

Some people are also more predisposed to TMJD due to their genetics. There are some gene alterations that affect how the body responds to stress and inflammation. If you have such gene alterations, then you are likely to develop TMJD at the slightest provocation of the relevant joint.

Have Chronic Inflammatory Disorder

Lastly, you are also likely to develop TMJD if you have chronic inflammatory or musculoskeletal disorders. With an inflammatory disorder, your body develops inflammation easily, and it does not respond to anti-inflammatory treatments as it would in the body of an otherwise healthy person. For a musculoskeletal disorder, you become more prone to muscle or bone problems such as fractures and sprains.

If you have any of these risk factors, then you should always consult a dentist, such as Pastucka Martin J DDS, at the slightest pain in your jaws. Don't wait until the pain becomes unbearable, or resort to self-diagnosis. Remember, different treatment for TMJD exist, such as Botox, surgery and use of dental splints.