Hi, I’m Dr. Steph Pinnow, your chiropractor for TMJD with Noble Choice Chiropractic right here in Sun Prairie, WI. And today I’m going to talk about three tests that you can do at home to determine if you have TMJD or temporomandibular joint disorder.
So before I go into that, I just want to give two lessons here. Number one is a little bit of a vocabulary nuance. So a lot of times people come in and tell us that they have bad TMJ or “Yeah, the doctor, the dentist said that just it’s my, it’s a TMJ.”
Okay, so TMJ that’s what the whole joint is called. So everybody has TMJ. What you want to say is that you have dysfunction of that joint or there’s some issue with the joint. It’s not moving properly, and that’s where the TMJD part comes in. So just a little clarification here. It’s not a big deal. Honestly, most people know what you’re talking about, but we are trying to educate you a little bit. So take it as you will.
Or the second lesson is I’m going to give you three tests you can try at home, but I do want to give the disclaimer that just because one is, might be positive, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have TMJD. You might just have a positive test and no other symptoms and something else that might need to be looked at. So not necessarily the end all be all for TMJD diagnoses, but that’s why you come to somebody like us, right so we can actually help you and diagnose and treat it for you.
Alright, so without further ado, let’s go ahead and talk about the three tests you can do at home. So the first one has to do with your actual joint and how it’s moving. So if you remember or if you’ve been reading and following along with the website or the videos. The TMJ temporomandibular joint is actually a hinge joint so it slides forward and back just like your, your elbow joint.
So what you’ll do is you’re going to take your fingers, put them right in front of your ears kind of right at the angle of the jaw, that you can feel right here. And I want you to slowly open and shut. So you should feel, hopefully, both joints opening and closing at the same time. If you don’t, you might have dysfunction in your joint. If you hear any popping or clicking, especially if you hear that and it hurts. That does signify that you could have an issue with that joint.
Some people again, disclaimer, some people might just have clicking but it doesn’t necessarily hurt that you might want to the next one which has to do with range of motion. So I am going to demonstrate with my moose puppet because I did try this without and I just it didn’t look good. on me. So we’ll go ahead.
So what I have you do is sometimes you can do some reading here, but we’re going to do the vertical three finger test where you’ll take three fingers. This guy obviously doesn’t work with his hoof. So you want to make sure that the opening of your jaw is big enough for you to be able to put three fingers vertically like this. So you can see that this moose is able to do that. Or I’m able to do that and it doesn’t hurt me.
I actually have my friend do this at home but she tried it and you could just almost see tears in her eyes. So I said, does that hurt you? And she said, yeah. So she might have some TMJ issues.
Okay, so Mr. Moose is fine. He can open up his mouth all the way. He might be able to eat (I almost said a burger, but that’s obviously not happening) whatever he’s hunting in the wild. For us, it might be like having a big bite of a burger or something like that. And you notice that it hurts. Again could be an indication TMG D.
Okay, so that’s step one, is all the way open to see how far it can open. The next part of that task is to find your transverse moment or to see how hard you can move side to side. So for him, it would be how far can he move his lower jaw one side versus how far can it move the other side.
That’s when you want to look in the mirror and see if there’s any sort of difference or irregularity in the difference from side to side. Okay, so that’s range of motion in the jaw.
The third test is range of motion on your neck. So again, you probably have heard us harp on how the neck is intricately related to the job. And if somebody has a dysfunction of the neck a lot of times to see it appear as jaw pain as well. So what we’ll have to do is just normal rate drops in the neck.
So even just starting inside said so with rotation here, rotation here, and then ear to shoulder, ear to shoulder. And you can go front flexion and then some extension as well.
So I’m pretty normal range of motion so I don’t have any dry issues at all. So it’s not surprising for me to feel like it’s okay. But you might notice that in my field or restrictive one way versus the other. Any sort of issues in your neck a lot of times can correlate to your jaw.
So it’s very important to make sure that wherever you’re going, you know even if it’s a chiropractor or a dentist as he was going through a job that they mentioned that they’re taking a look at the neck as well.
There is a study in backdrop that references many cases videos about how many people have neck complaints and also a TMJ D at the same time. So a huge correlation between that.
Alright, so those are the three tests for you to do at home to determine if you have TMJ D. Right. And so if you have questions, feel free to reach out to us. They’re better at just come in and we will help you. We’ll see you soon. Thanks