Signs Symptoms of TMJ
Each Major TMJ Symptom Explained

If you have jaw pain, headaches, an aching and clenched jaw, then you know all the Signs Symptoms of TMJ.

But if you are looking for a TMJ Cure or even just want to find TMJ Treatment Options that work, it will be worth it to spend a little time on this page so you can deeply understand why each TMJ symptom is bothering you.

Once you know the nature of the beast, you can then find the best way to tame the beast. (I'm sure you have a lovely jaw, but if it's causing pain, let's just say that it's a beast that can use some proper training.)

Updated Program Is In The Works!
Feb 1st or sooner!

Signs Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ Headache, Clenching, and Jaw Pain

All the major signs symptoms of TMJ syndrome essentially fall under three categories:

  • Clenching
  • Headache
  • Jaw Pain

Whether these are variations or byproducts, they fall into these three general categories.

A person suffering from TMJ syndrome can have symptoms in one or all of the categories.

And the symptoms may be due all or just in part to TMJ. For instance, if a person with TMJ Tendonitis problems suffers from migraine headaches, migraine's may show up totally due to the jaw problem, or just partially.

Conversely, TMJ syndrome may have developed due to the body's response to chronic migraine ecology and pain. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the chicken or the egg came first. With TMJ, you sometimes have to just start chipping away at the shell and see what clues show up.

Signs symptoms of TMJ are simple to identify. Finding the root cause, the source of the problem, can be a bit trickier.

Signs Symptoms of TMJ

Signs Symptoms of TMJ due to chronic Muscle Tightness and Constriction:

  • Clenching during the day and/or night
  • (bruxism) Grinding teeth at night 
  • Constant Jaw Ache and/or Tightness
  • Limited Range of Motion when opening the jaw, or side to side motion.
  • Clicking or Popping

Clenching and grinding can cause tooth pain, sensitive teeth, and gum problems.

Why do you clench? Why do you grind your teeth?

There is a predictable pattern that all Tendonitis follows, and this includes TMJ Tendonitis.

  1. Due to trauma, mental and/or physical stress, or a host of other reasons, your jaw muscles get a little tight.
  2. Then they get a little tighter.
  3. Then, the nervous system goes, "Well, we've been like this for a while, it must be normal." So it resets those tight muscles to 'normal'.
  4. You go to sleep, and your tight muscles don't relax, because tight is now the new 'normal'.
  5. Over time, your muscles get even tighter. Basically, muscle and nervous system retains a little bit of the contraction every time you flex a muscle.  You talk, you chew, it adds up, and you end up with an increasingly tight set of muscles.
  6. Over time, connective tissue starts to shrink wrap the too tight muscles. Like saran wrap around a half squeezed sponge.
  7. New blood and nutrition has a hard time getting in. Metabolic waste product has a hard time getting out.
  8. Waste product counts as an irritant. The body responds to this with more tightness.
  9. Somewhere in there, the ecology gets so bad that the nervous system decides that there is a problem, that it needs to protect you. When this happens, it kicks in a Process of Inflammation.
  10. Inflammation traps fluid in the area and releases chemical that enhances your sensitivity to pain.
  11. When the body feels pain, it kicks in an Inflammation Process and tightens your muscles to 'guard' the area.
  12. More tightness, more pain. This creates more tightness, and more pain.
  13. Repeat.

Quickly or slowly, this dynamic happens. It can involve some or all of the muscles connected to the jaw hinge.

It can involve muscles of the neck, head, face, and shoulder/torso.

If muscles are too tight, they will not allow the jaw to open all the way.

If muscles are too tight but not balanced, the jaw will swivel in odd directions, certainly not an aligned opening and closing.

The TemporoMandibular joint can get irritated if it opens in a weird direction, and/or has to much pressure on the moving parts from tight muscles compressing the joint. This creates more pain signal.

If the joint is pulled too far out of alignment as it is moved by too tight and unbalanced muscles, it can snap and pop as it comes out of it's groove.

Ok, but why do I clench and grind my teeth?

Muscles are habitually too tight. Good news/bad news, this is not static. The body is -always- moving, contracting or opening.

Muscles that are too tight don't just sit there. They are actively tightening. So while you are awake, and while you are asleep, they are actively contracting.

Your nervous system is ALWAYS running the show. Even if you think you're relaxed, or are telling yourself to relax, the design of the nervous system in the instance is that it is sending signal to the muscles to tighten up, to squeeze, to contract.

The means you clench. It means that at night, when you are not aware, you have no conscious feedback to notice or even stop this unresisted contracted.

It's like people with Carpal-Tunnel and Wrist Tendonitis. The wrist and fingers curls at night because the muscles are constantly, chronically, tightening.

Tight muscles aren't just tight. They are -tightening-. Constantly.

Your jaw is sore, aches, and has a feel of being constantly tight because it -is- constantly tight, and in fact, tightening.

Signs Symptoms of TMJ

There is a connection between jaw pain and neck pain and headaches. Remember, it's all connected.

Tendonitis of the Jaw sets you up for headaches.

Signs Symptoms of TMJ due to chronic Muscle Tightness and Constriction:

* Migraines
* Mild to Severe Headaches anywhere around the head
* Cluster headaches
* "Sinus Type" headaches

There are a couple of reasons for headaches caused by TMJ.

1. Tightness constricts blood flow.

2. Chronic pain not only makes muscles tight, but also sets the nervous system on edge.

This means that the nervous system gets panicked. It's job is to protect you. It only knows one way to do that, and it doesn't really work, but it just does it more since that's it's only option.

Tightness and pain, and then more of it. Your poor nervous system gets into a heightened state of alert, and it just starts vibrating weird. Call it frantic, call it a higher energetic vibration rate, call it whatever.

It causes pain.

Signs Symptoms of TMJ - The neck is almost always part of the problem

Most people with TMJ have cervical involvement. This is a fancy term for injury to the neck. Whether it be Whiplash, or just constant tension, this equals too much tightness in the structure.

This can literally cut off blood supply to the brain, and/or muscles that connect to the skull, causing headache, causing tension headache (muscles basically in spasm and short on new blood flow because they are squeezed so tight).

Pain Causes Pain

I'm not even going to explain why pain causes pain and headache.

It's pretty involved, but at the most simple level, when your body experiences chronic pain from something like TMJ, things get wonky and the response is that the body shifts to a state that makes it easy to have more pain and hard to have less pain.

Specifically for TemporoMandibular Joint Dysfunction, muscle tightness, compression of the joint, and tendonitis of the tendons of the jaw cause CONSTANT pain.

This is like standing next to a giant bell that someone is constantly ringing. You can't get away from it. It doesn't stop.

It can drive you mad. That's what it's doing to your jaw, your body, and your nervous system. You feel this as pain.

And unfortunately the body responds to pain with more pain.

Signs Symptoms of TMJ
Pain in the Jaw

Maybe you don't have headaches.

Maybe you don't clench or grind. It's certainly possible to have pain without that, though it's more rare to experience it like that.

Signs Symptoms of TMJ due to chronic Muscle Tightness and Constriction:

* Pain in the jaw

Tendonitis of the Jaw....remember how I said muscles were tight? Constantly tight?

When muscles are nonstop tight, they are nonstop pulling on the tendons.

Imagine if an elephant was pulling hard on your arm 24 hours a day. Think your shoulder and arm would start to hurt?

It would. A lot.

Same thing is happening in your jaw. Constant tension. This irritates the tendons and overworks and fatigues the muscles that have no other option than to keep working hard.

Everything I said about TMJ Clenching and TMJ Headaches applies to TMJ Jaw Pain.

Signs Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ Symptoms fall in a common pattern and a common range.

TMJ Symptoms follow a predictable pattern of progression.

To be effective, a TMJ Cure must reverse the progression and disrupt the pattern.

Return to the top of this Signs Symptoms of TMJ page.

Go to the main TMJ page.

Go to the homepage.

Updated Program Is In The Works!
Feb 1st or sooner!

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.