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Phoenix, AZ
A 25-year-old female asked:

With my tmj i get reoccurring stiffness on the left side of my jaw down to my shoulder. what can i do to stop and prevent this painful stiffness?

5 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Gordon
Dentistry 43 years experience
Try this first: Try dipping a washcloth in warm water (not so hot as to burn yourself) and gently place on the stiff area allowing the heat to soak in and repeat. Open and close mouth slowly. Remember soft diet ; no chewing gum. This may loosen the tight muscles. Otherwise see your dentist.
Dr. Paul Grin
Pain Management 36 years experience
MFP: Myofascial pain is a regional muscle disorder that is one of the most common causes of persistent pain in the head, TMJ (face) and neck regions. Mfp may also be comorbid with those conditions with facet joint damage or discogenic pain. Management: 1.Patient education and self-care 2.Physical medicine 3.Injection techniques 4.Pharmacotherapy 5.Behavioral modification rec. Orofacial pain specialist.
Dr. Jaime Fernandez
Dentistry 28 years experience
Alternatives: Nsaid with muscle relaxant can help. Consider further evaluation of the head and neck to rule out other neck and back problems. Tmj can be caused by a bad bite all the way to bad synovial (disk) joints. Seek the advise of an oral surgeon. Mri and a scan could help determine if it is truly tmj.
Dr. Jeffrey Bassman
Dentistry 45 years experience
Need to know cause: Tmj stiffnesss can be a symptom, that if left untreated, can lead to more severe problems. The cause of the problem is very significant and normally, if you experience popping/clicking and limited opening (locking) or closing of the jaw, see your dentist/a specialist before your suffering becomes enhanced.
Dr. Louis Gallia
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 45 years experience
TMJ expert: Complicated problem. You need the best possible care by a TMJ expert. Any dentist can be a TMJ expert with the proper training and experience. Most commonly, oral surgeons, prosthodontists, and orofacial pain specialists. Ask your MD, your dentist and your dental society for referrals.

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Last updated Mar 21, 2015

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