The pain and disorders that people experience with the TMJ often happen between the ages of 20 to 40, are more common in women than in men, and can be the source of extreme pain and discomfort.
The pains that people often feel that are associated with TMJ can be pain in the face, earaches, headaches, clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth, and tenderness of the jaw. Those clicking and popping sounds that the jaw may make are not always accompanied by pain; sometimes the noises are there, but there is no discomfort present. In addition, people may have difficulty chewing, biting, or being able to open their mouth. Some people may experience a feeling of their jaw being locked or stuck in the open or closed position.
TMJ problems, according to the National Institutes of Health, are brought on by certain structures being stressed. Those structures include the muscles of the neck, face and jaw, nearby ligaments and blood vessels, teeth, and the cartilage disk located at the joint.
Even though stress to these areas is believed to be a cause for many of the TMJ cases that are identified, there are still many other cases where a cause has not been identified. Some people believe there are additional factors that contribute to TMJ, even though they have not been proven, including a bad bite, tooth grinding, and poor posture while sitting at the computer.
In addition, there are factors that are believed to make TMJ worse, such as not getting enough sleep, having a poor diet, and being stressed out.