TMJ Disorder

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TMJ Disorder

Usually referred to as TMJ syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a term used to describe pain in the joint connecting the jaw to the skull; it can have varied causes and, in turn, can cause diverse problems in other areas of the head. TMJ syndrome can be responsible for neck pain, pain affecting your ear, face, or just headaches in general. It can cause your jaw to lock, making it hard to open or make clicking and popping sound whenever you bite down or chew.

The TMJ is made up of many components; the bone is the most prominent but also muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. It has a range of motion, including rotation and hinge action, and allows you to chew, bite, talk and yawn.

What Can Cause TMJ Syndrome?

Like with most things, the causes can vary. Trauma tops that list, often caused by grinding your teeth and or clenching your jaw often. This constant stress on the joint can cause misalignment, inflammation, and damage to the cartilage disc of the joint. Sometimes dental work is at fault due to overstretching the joint for a long time, in which case a well-placed massage can prove to be very useful.

Arthritis can also wreak havoc on this joint as the progressive wear and tear on the cartilage degrades it over time. This is more prominent when trauma has been present in the past or when immunologic diseases are present; chronic inflammation can also be a factor.

Is pain holding you back?


Pain is always a giveaway, in the joint or facial muscles. The pain may be more pronounced when using the joint by yawning, chewing, or talking. It may lead to headaches. TMJ is known to cause noise to be heard by the patient; this noise comes in the form of pops or clicks in the jaw. Swelling is a common symptom, and occasionally, TMJ will cause tinnitus and even some hearing loss. Sometimes patients will confuse TMJ with ear infections, although the ear itself is just fine. While some symptoms last days or weeks, some conditions may have symptoms extended over months or even years.

Risk Factors

Age is a factor as arthritis can push your joints to fail, like in most ailments genetics can play a part, people who suffer from high levels of stress, as well as those suffering from headaches and lower back pain, are known to be at higher risk than those who do not present these problems. Women have a higher likelihood of TMJ Syndrome.

Get Treatment for TMJ at Merge Physical Medicine

Always consult with a medical professional before starting any exercise routine or set of stretches. Physical therapists can provide you with personalized stretches and exercises that will significantly help with TMJ pain-reducing joint and muscle tension and offering you the relief you need. If you follow the appropriate therapy, you will be able to strengthen the muscle group that controls the jaw and help mitigate future flare-ups. Other treatments will include ice and heat therapy to relieve the inflammation as well as professional massages to reduce muscle tension.

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Dr. Peirsol is a Columbus, Ohio-born native, comes from a family of alumni of The Ohio State University, and as such, is a diehard Buckeye who moved to Dallas in 2007 to pursue her chiropractic career. She graduated from Parker University and has been in practice since 2011.
Dr. Peirsol has a sports medicine specialty and is trained to treat and diagnose conditions that arise from sports and physical activity in general. Doctors in sports medicine are usually called on to diagnose and treat conditions such as whiplash, shin splints, sprains, bone fractures, hip and knee pain, as well as joint and back pain and any other sports-related injury.
After eight years in an integrated setting, she has strengthened her keen focus that every patient receives a proper diagnosis. Treatment through diagnosis, imaging, history, interventional pain procedures, and other measures have been a part of her thorough and multifaceted approach to patient care. She has a history of collaborating with all specialties including pain management professionals, physical therapists, fellow chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, spine and neurosurgeons, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, ENTs, and PCPs to name a few.
Dr. Peirsol prides herself on finding the right answer for your injury making sure she provides a personalized care plan tailored only to you and your injuries. She is known for her honesty, her loyalty, and for respecting one’s time, but these are just a few of the qualities that describe Dr. Peirsol.
Manipulation and soft tissue therapy including manual therapy, trigger point therapy, and active release therapy are just a few of the treatments Dr. Peirsol incorporates into her treatment plans. She uses the latest technology and is on top of the newest and most effective trends in medicine, allowing her to make the best decision every time, no matter the malady.
Below is just one of many glowing testimonials of Dr. Peirsol. To experience the same level of outstanding service, reach out to Merge Physical Medicine and learn what Dr. Peirsol and her team can do for you.

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