TMJ disorder has become a problem that more people talk about these days. Because of this, we know that at least 10 million people in our country are affected by the popping, clicking, and locking that characterize malfunctioning temporomandibular joints. In a report released by ATI Physical Therapy in 2017, it might seem as though the younger generation, also known as Gen Y or Millennials, is more troubled by these symptoms than those that came before.
What does this study indicate?
Research is valuable because it provides us with cold, hard, facts to prove a theory. In this ATI study, the intent was to identify the overall state of physical therapy in the modern age; a virtual whos-who and whats-what of physical therapy. One of several findings in the analysis of over 600,000 patients was that Millennials sought physical therapy most often for the treatment of TMJ pain. This leads us to question, is this generation more prone to developing TMJ disorder? It doesn’t seem so.
When we look at other studies that have focused on the modern lifestyle of the average Millennial, we see a common thread of stress. It has been proposed that there has been no other generation to deal with as much stress as Generation Y. When stressed, we are more likely to grind or clench our teeth, which causes excessive and persistent tension in the muscles and joints of the jaw. With continued stress, this tension progressively worsens, and an affected person may experience a wide range of symptoms, including ear pain, chronic head and neck pain, and even migraines.
Back to the original study, we can presume that the increase in Millennials seeking physical therapy has more to do with awareness and availability than a higher instance of TMJ existing in this particular generation of adults.
Is Physical Therapy the Right Approach for TMJ Disorder?
This is a trickier question than the first because every situation is different. There are several approaches to treating TMJ disorder, and one may not do the trick all by itself. Physical therapy, cold and heat therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and dental care all have a valuable role in reducing the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
If you are in Hedgesville and want long-term relief from TMJ, call (304) 754-8803. We can perform a thorough consultation and examination to determine the factors related to your pain.