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The Athens Athlete’s Guide to TMJ Treatment: Getting Back in the Game

As an athlete, your focus is on keeping your body in top condition so that you can perform at your best. However, sometimes unforeseen issues can get in the way and hinder your performance, one of these issues is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction. If you have ever suffered from TMJ, you know it can be incredibly painful and can prevent from participating in your favorite activities. However, with the right information and treatment, you can get back to your best in no time. In this article, we will discuss in detail TMJ disorder and treatment guidelines for Athens athletes.

Understanding TMJ Disorder

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. This joint enables you to open and close your mouth, chew and yawn. The temporomandibular joint is surrounded with muscles and ligaments, and its main function is to let the jaw move in all directions.

However, when the temporomandibular joint becomes painful and inflamed, it is referred to as TMJ disorder. This condition can cause pain when opening and closing the mouth, clicking or popping sounds when chewing, headaches, earaches, and difficulty opening the mouth.

The cause of TMJ is usually unknown, but most specialists believe that it is due to a combination of muscles tension, stress, poor posture and jaw misalignment. In some case, trauma or injury to the joint, such as a blow to the head or face, can cause TMJ disorder.

TMJ Treatment Guidelines for Athens Athletes

If you are an athlete in Athens and suffer from TMJ disorder, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Without having the proper treatment you may notice loss of mobility, decreased muscle strength, and loss of endurance. Delaying treatment may also increase the risk for developing arthritis in the temporomandibular joint. Therefore, it is critical to take the time to seek out a qualified healthcare provider who has experience in treating TMJ disorder and athletic injuries.

Physiotherapy and Exercise

Physiotherapy is often recommended as the first line of treatment for TMJ. A licensed physiotherapist can recommend exercises and stretches to help relieve tension in the surrounding muscles. These exercises are designed to increase strength and flexibility of the muscles surrounding the jaw, allowing for improved mobility and function of the joint.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards can be used to help protect the joints from overuse and injury. Mouth guards are custom made to fit your teeth and align the jaw in the most natural position. By wearing a device such as a mouth guard, athletes can help to prevent muscle tension and jaw misalignment, both of which can contribute to TMJ disorder.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is an effective treatment option for TMJ disorder, as it aims to correct misalignments in the spine. A chiropractor can perform a gentle adjustment, relieving tension in the nerves around the jaw and helping restore proper alignment to the joint. As a result, athletes often experience decreased pain, increased mobility and improved performance in their favorite activities.

Anti-inflammatory Medications

Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, are often taken to help reduce swelling and inflammation. These medications can also help to relieve pain and make it easier to move the jaw freely. However, it is important to use these medications for a short period of time and under the care of a healthcare provider, as prolonged use of anti-inflammatory medications can have harmful side effects.

Preventing TMJ Disorder in Athens Athletes

One of the best ways to prevent TMJ disorder in athletes is to practice proper jaw alignment and posture. This means eating healthy, staying fit, and monitoring your mouth position while performing physical activities. As an athlete, it is also important to make sure you are taking the time to properly warm up and stretch before exercising, as this can help prevent muscle tension and jaw misalignment.

Additionally, it is important to wear protective gear, such as a mouth guard, when engaging in high-impact activities. This gear can help to prevent trauma and injury to the mouth and jaw, which can lead to TMJ disorder if left untreated. If you suffer from any symptoms of TMJ disorder, it is important to see a qualified healthcare provider for treatment, as this can help you get back to your best with minimal time off from your activities.

Athens Athletes and TMJ Disorder: The Bottom Line

TMJ disorder can be incredibly painful and inconvenient for athletes in Athens. However, with the right information and treatment, those who suffer from TMJ disorder can get back to their best in no time. Physiotherapy, chiropractic care, wearing mouth guards, and proper alignment and posture can all help to prevent and treat TMJ disorder. With the above treatment guidelines and preventative measures, athletes in Athens can continue to enjoy their favorite activities free of pain and discomfort.