Musculoskeletal Dysfunction (MSD) of the Head and Neck Resulting in Temporomandibular (Jaw) Joint Dysfunction (“TMJ”)
Founder and Director of Occlusion Connections™
(Some portions of the following section contains excerpts of writings from Dr. James Garry, an authority and expert in treating musculoskeletal dysfunctions of the head, neck and temporomandibular joint dysfunction as well as air-way obstruction/ sleep apnea problems).
Patients suffering facial pain, headaches, neck aches, shoulder, and/ or back pain often have to learn to live with the pain.
Some patients have subjective hearing loss, ringing of the ears, dizziness, pain in the ear, a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears, clicking/ popping of the jaw joints and eye pain. The mouth, teeth and throat may also be affected. When competent clinicians cannot find an organic basis for these symptoms, they often suggest it might be psychogenic.
There is a classification of disease known as Musculoskeletal Dysfunction of the head and neck (MSD). MSD seems totally unrelated to symptoms such as back pain or ear disorders. Yet, correction of this condition may alleviate many medical symptoms; acute or chronic diseases of the ear, nose, throat, head, neck, shoulder and back. The syndrome is medically as well as dentally related.
TMJ/ MSD is a dysfunction of a group of associated muscles, ligaments, nerves and supportive structures that are associated with the temporomandibular joint. Unfortunately, TMJ/ TMD is one of the most misdiagnosed of the medical/ dental conditions. There are two aspects that contributes to this sad phenomenon of misdiagnosis.
First, few doctors including physicians, ENT specialists, dentists, chiropractors, osteopaths, etc. have a comprehensive understanding and perspective in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ/ MSD.
Secondly, these disorders have many overlapping symptoms which mimic many other conditions such as neurological disorders, ringing and fullness in the ear, headaches, etc.
Misdiagnosis is the rule rather than the exception with MSD. Patients wander from specialist to specialist, depending on the type of pain and problems they experience. Symptoms focusing on ear, sinuses, or swallowing problems are referred to the Otolaryngologist. Limitations of jaw movement are referred to the Orthopedist. Persistent head pains are referred to the Neurologist, etc.
As the wanderers are told and retold that there seems to be no organic basis for their pain, that the cause is psychogenic, their anxiety mounts. When physical findings remain obstinately in abeyance, patients may begin to suspect a brain tumor, turn to drugs to alleviate their symptoms, or on rare occasions, even contemplate suicide.