New Patients: Current Patients: 204.786.6617

Myofascial Pain Dysfunction

What is Myofascial Pain Dysfunction?

Myofascial pain dysfunction (MPD) is a fairly common but misunderstood condition characterized by pain in the head (headaches), face, neck, shoulders, and other structures. To be accurate, what is generally referred to as TMJ is in fact Myofascial Pain Dysfunction (MPD), a disorder of the muscles, tooth contact and joint.

Until recently, the medical profession had little knowledge of MPD. Indeed, it is still controversial in certain dental circles. Many may not understand the concept of MPD, but the medical doctors who have been treated for MPD will tell you of their own positive experiences. In fact, our own patients have enthusiastically sent their testimonials, describing the positive outcomes of their own treatments.

Who is Affected by Myofascial Pain Dysfunction?

Myofascial Pain Dysfunction as well as TMJ dysfunction can be present in early teens, as well as in adult men and women, with women experiencing it more often.

What Causes Myofascial Pain Dysfunction?

Stress is the (the greatest contributing factor) to myofascial pain dysfunction (MPD), whether it is high exposure to stress or low threshold for stress. Other causes may include:

  • Trauma to the head or neck
  • Pathology or trauma to the joint, including arthritis
  • Hormonal imbalances during puberty, child bearing years or menopause
  • Medications, which may have the side effect of clenching
  • Malocclusion (jaws which do not line up correctly), for example, after orthodontics, after wisdom tooth extraction, or teeth which interfere with correct closure of the jaw
  • Trigger points in the neck and shoulder regions

The Great Impostor

Because of the symptoms, MPD and TMJ dysfunction is known in medical circles as “The Great Impostor”. The symptoms may be any one of, or as in many cases, a combination of all of the following:

  • Morning headaches and migraines
  • Jaw Pain
  • Restricted Mouth Opening
  • Clicking, Popping, Grinding When Chewing or Opening Mouth
  • Locking Jaws
  • Worn & Temperature Sensitive Teeth
  • Ear Pain & Noises (Ringing or Buzzing)
  • Eustachian Ear Tube Symptoms (Like When Flying in an Airplane)
  • Fullness or Stuffy Feeling in Ear Without Infection
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Rotator Cuff Like Pain
  • Arm & Wrist Pain
  • Tingling or Numbness in Fingers
  • Snoring (With Negative Sleep Apnea Diagnosis)
  • Lightheadedness or Dizziness When Walking
  • Pain Behind Eyes
  • Difficulties Swallowing
  • Negative MRI or CAT Scan of Jaw Joints
  • Exacerbation of Symptoms When Wearing a Non-Customized Splint (Mouth Guard)

Negative Effects of Myofascial Pain Dysfunction

Ones overall health may be adversely affected by MPD or TMJ dysfunction. Lack of sleep and pain may lead to apprehension, depression and a myriad of other serious symptoms. This also includes liver and kidney problems as a result of chronic consumption of painkillers. In many cases sleep deprivation is due to nighttime clenching.

Treatment for Myofascial Pain Dysfunction

As with TMJ therapy, the goal of treatment for MPD is to prevent clenching and to correct the occlusion (bite), allowing the teeth to come together comfortably and completely without any interferences. A special, customized splint or night guard is fabricated to prevent clenching. So that the closing muscles are relaxed and in a resting state, this is known as a peaceful neuromusculature.

Myofascial Pain and Fibromyalgia

Some patients who have been previously diagnosed with fibromyalgia find that their symptoms are mysteriously resolved after being treated for MPD. This indicates that patients were possibly misdiagnosed for fibromyalgia.

Is there a Cure for Myofascial Pain Dysfunction?

The answer is complex, the primary reasons for clenching at night or during the day are stress and the inability of the individual to cope with the stress. As long as you live you cannot avoid stress, the one variable being increasing ones tolerance for stress.

If you feel that you have a MPD problem and have sought treatment from your family care physician to rule out pathology, contact Dr. Fleisher to schedule a comprehensive evaluation.