TMJ Splints and Orthotics

TMJ or TMD

TMJ, also known as TMD (Temporo Mandibular Disorder) stands for termporo mandibular joint, which is the joint connecting the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (termporal bone). The lower jaw and skull are connected by a number of muscles and ligaments which work in harmony with each other if the lower jaw is in the correct alignment with the skull. The head of the lower jaw bone is called the glenoid fossa. There is a cushion or shock absorber between tese two bones called an articular disc. Various conditions from misaligned teeth, jaw traumas, cervical whip-lash injuries and others can cause TMD. It can be very painful and if not corrected, can cause damage to the joint. Treatment for TMJ, depending on the seriousness, is manual manipulation, stretching of the lower jaw, massage, microcurrent, and fitting the lower teeth with a splint to be worn for several weeks, especially at night. If clicking or popping is present, do not delay treatment.

Symptoms include:

  • Headaches or neck aches
  • Facial pain/numbness
  • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitis)
  • Pain or stuffiness in the ears
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Shoulder and lower back pain
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tingling in the fingers and hands

Orthotics

Orthotics or pedal (foot) stabilizers are custom made supports of the feet. Unbalanced pedal foundations such as loss of arch, pronations (the feet and ankles roll inward towards each other), supination (the feet and ankles do just the opposite of pronation - turn out), and corns on the sole of the feet can lead to distortions and a muscular stretching up the spine. Pronation causes the feet to "toe out" and the person will walk with the foot pointed outwards. This causes the lower leg to rotate inward, increasing the quadricep angle, cuasing a lot of stress on the medial (inside) knee joint. The whole body compensates for this shift. The base point of the body's center of gravity shifts and the head attempts to maintain its position over the vertical center of gravity. Therefore the head and neck slide forward into anterior translation. This can, in time, cause pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back. The body's overall stabilization efficiency is greatly reduced and it takes a lot more energy to maintain a standing posture all day long every day, contributing to fatigue and lack of stamina. Low back, hip problems, knee problems and ever upper back and neck problems can benefit from using orthotics to properly balance the feet. Metatarsal supports, heel wedges and heel lifts are also available.

Braces

Braces come in a lot of forms: back supports, wrist, shoulder, elbow, ankle or knee supports, Carpal tunnel supports and plantar fasciitis night brace (or splint).

Other

Cervical pillows (nocturnal cervical traction devices) are available, as well as overhead cervical traction units. Professional, electrical massage units ("Jeannie Rub") are also available.