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Craniofacial pain ie. Temporomandibular joint disorders,head and neck pain can arise from many factors and sources including:    

  1. Trauma
    These include motor vehicle accidents (MVA) often involving whiplash or a blow to the head and neck either as a result of an MVA or from a fall, fight or sports injury. Whiplash head injuries often damage the soft tissues of the neck, back and TMJ’s. The violent motion of the head being thrown from a motionless state backwards and forwards often causes the mouth to be forced open. Common complaints after a whiplash injury are neck pain and stiffness, difficulty in turning the head, headaches, TMJ pain.

  2. Opening the jaw too wide
    All joints of the human body have limitations of movement including the temporomandibular joint. If your mouth is forced wide open or you open wide for excessive periods of time ligaments may be torn and swelling and bruising develops within the TMJ. Dislocation of the cartilage disc may also develop leading to jaw joint sounds and discomfort.

  3. Bruxism
    Bruxism is the abnormal grinding of teeth and most commonly occurs during sleep. Indications of nocturnal (night) bruxism may include sore jaw muscles on awakening, headaches, worn teeth and tooth sensitivity. Bruxism is often associated with airway impairment including sleep apnea. In some cases the pressure to the TMJ from constant grinding of the teeth may lead to ligament injuries and displacement of the cartilage disc.

  4. Malocclusion
    Malocclusion or bad bite, may be produced by poor development of the jaws, missing teeth, removal of teeth without replacement, a high dental restoration (filling), ill fitting dentures or a displaced TMJ disc. The inability of the teeth to bite together results in improper jaw function.

  5. Poor Posture
    Poor posture particularly head and neck posture results in muscle overactivity, which may lead to symptoms such as headaches, neck pain and TMJ pain.

  6. Ligament Laxity
    People who appear to be double jointed suffer from a problem termed ligament laxity. Ligament laxity does occur in the TMJ and is fairly common in active young females.

  7. Stress
    Stress has many effects on our bodies. When a person is subjected to chronic stress physiological changes occur which may produce harmful effects including muscle tightness and pain. Although not the causative factor stress intensifies the craniofacial pain  problems. Muscles tighten, clenching and grinding of the teeth occurs, abnormal pressure is forced against the TMJ disc and if the ligaments are weak or the patient has ligament laxity, dislocation of the cartilage disc may occur.

  8. Systemic Diseases
    Various diseases can cause or exacerbate TMJ problems. Immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus can produce inflammation in the TMJ. Viral infections such as mumps and measles can cause damage to the anatomical surfaces of the TMJ leading to an internal dysfunction of the TMJ.

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